YONKERS, city, New York, in Westchester County, on the east bank of the Hudson River, on a hilly terrain overlooking the Palisades of the opposite Jersey shore.
Yonkers is both a residential and industrial center, the largest city in the county and fifth largest in New York State. On the south it adjoins Bronx Borough of New York City; on the north and east, Hastings-on-Hudson, the town of Greenburgh, and the communities of Scarsdale, Eastchester, Tuckahoe, Bronxville, and the city of Mount Vernon, ali in Westchester.
Yonkers’ industries include the world’s largest manufacturer of elevators and escalators, dating from 1854, and the largest producer of liquid sugar for industrial purposes. Other products include wearing apparel, nurses’ uniforms, plastics, pharmaceuticals, pipe organs, metal and wire products, aerosol valves, and electrical and electronic equipment. The submarine pipeline Pluto, used to carry gasoline to fuel the D-day invasion in World War II, was made in Yonkers, as was the 3,000-mile Styroflex coaxial cable that constitutes the heart of the Distant Early Warning (DEW) system across the Arctic wastes. The city is served by federal and state highways, the New York Central Railroad, and river and oceangoing shipping.
Sarah Lawrence College, for women, and St. Joseph’s Seminary (Roman Catholic) are located in Yonkers, as is the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research, opened in 1924. The Sprain Brook Branch of the Yonkers Public Library is an outstanding modern structure. Another point of interest is the Hudson River Museum, in Trevor Park, with three art galleries, a planetarium, and a notable astronomical exhibition hail. St. Andrews Golf Club was organized in 1888 with one of the first golf courses in the United States, and the first unofficial United States Open Championship took place here in 1894. Yonkers Raceway is a nationally famous harness-racing track.
Yonkers’ history goes back to 1639, when the so-called Keskeskeck Purchase, including approximately the present area of the city, was made from the Indians by the Dutch West India Company. Title passed through the New England Company in 1646 to Adriaen van der Donck, first lawyer and historian of New Netherland, from whose title (jonkheer) the city’s name is derived. Frederick Philipse (q.v.) acquired much of the van der Donck land in 1672 and succeeding years and built the first Philipse manor house here in 1682.
In 1779, the third and last lord of the manor lost his lands because of loyalty to the crown during the American Revolution. Philipse Manor, a fine colonial building, now open to the public and administered by the New York State Education Department in collaboration with the American Scenic and Historic Preservation Society, houses the priceless Cochran Collection of 69 portraits of presidents of the United States, painted by Gilbert Stuart and other leading artists. Yonkers was incorporated as a village in 1855 and as a city in 1872.