PeekskillBrian PJ Cronin | April 15, 2016 | Comment
Technically, Peekskill is part of Westchester County, but it’s never really quite fit in there. Since the late 1980s, when Peekskill began luring cash-strapped artists northward with economic incentives, this city of 24,000, tucked into a bend in the river, has been fresher and edgier than the rest of the county.
Metro-North stops at Peekskill’s waterfront, offering stunning views of the river and the mountains of Harriman-Bear Mountain State Park across the water as well as a sculpture garden, a playground, and even a small beach. The dining options near the waterfront are as satisfying as the views. Hudson Creamery offers flavorful scoops of Jane’s Ice Cream from Kingston and snacks from Peekskill’s own Homestyle Desserts, while Taco Dive Bar pairs wide-ranging craft beer and tequila selections with maple-glazed pork-belly tacos, chili-smothered nachos, and gluten-free pancakes with ancho-honey butter if you’re there for brunch.
The payoff of Peekskill’s longstanding commitment to the arts can be seen in its downtown cultural district, which is an easy 10-minute walk from the river. The newly restored Paramount Hudson Valley Theater, a 1930s landmark, offers diverse programming that includes big-name comedians and musicians, children’s programming, and even some dog performers. The Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art features the best of Peekskill’s art scene, along with well-known artists from further afield.
Downstairs from the celebrated Flat Iron Gallery is the 13-year-old Peekskill Coffee House, whose enormous windows make it an ideal spot to decompress and watch tourists and locals alike hum through the warren of narrow streets in this part of downtown. The quaint architecture and close density of the neighborhood make Peekskill resemble a charming French village, but just a two-minute drive away finds you in the wilds of the Blue Mountain Reservation.
Peekskill’s dining scene has finally caught up with its art scene, and on Saturday nights the restaurants are packed. Gleason’s, which opened in 2012, has built up a devoted following thanks to its tangy sourdough crust pizzas with inventive topping combos, like octopus with pesto and arugula. Down on the waterfront, Peekskill Brewery has won several medals at the Great American Beer Festival, and its draft list is endlessly inventive, as is its pub menu, which features duck prosciutto and three kinds of poutine.
Birdsall House: Craft beer gastropub specializing in locally sourced ingredients from the Hudson Valley with a large outdoor beer garden.
970 Main St, Peekskill/ (914) 930-1880
Hudson River Expeditions: Kayak, canoe, or SUP with family, colleagues, or on your own. We offer tours, rentals, sales, instructions and fitness classes.
14 Market St, Cold Springs/ (845) 809-5935
1 Annsville Cr, Peekskill/ (914) 737-1202
The Coop Arts & Antiques: An eclectic store, vintage and antiques home furnishings, lightings, artisanal fashion accessories, jewelry, soaps, cards, and kid clothes & toys.
107 S. Division St, Peekskill/ (914) 737-2194
Peekskill Coffee House: This eclectic coffee shop serves up specialty coffee made to order sweet and savory crepes, live music, trivia and free Wi-Fi.
101 S. Division St, Peekskill/ (914) 739-1287
Trinity Cruises: Departs historic Peekskill cruising north into the scenic Hudson Highlands. Sightseeing, Sunsets and Falls-Foliage Cruises. Groups, Private Charters. MTA accessible.
Riverfront Green Park, 30 Hudson Ave, Peekskill/ (914) 589-7773
Third Eye Arts: Experience a warm, friendly environment filled with unique, insightful and beautiful paintings, photographs, stained glass, mirrors, cards and much more.
108 S. Division St, Peekskill/ (914) 523-8250