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With its eclectic mix of pre-war mansions, quaint detached houses, and well-kept co-op grounds, Riverdale is defined by its leafy, semi-suburban character, sunset views across the Hudson River and highly regarded private schools and colleges.
The affluent neighborhood is situated in the northwest Bronx and overlooks the Hudson River and the majestic Palisades Cliffs. It is separated from Manhattan by the Harlem River and sits on a ridge that is one of the highest elevations in New York City.
Beginning as an isolated railroad station called Riverdale-on-Hudson, the neighborhood was built up in the late 19th century by wealthy merchants and industrialists who wanted to own large homes while still enjoying an easy commute to Manhattan. Today, the appeal remains the same. The neighborhood is served both by New York City Transits 1 subway line train line and Metro North's Hudson Line which shuttles residents into the heart of Midtown in less than 15 minutes.
The four communities that encompass the greater Riverdale area are: Marble Hill, Spuyten Duyvil, Riverdale proper, North Riverdale, and Fieldston. Fieldston is a planned community lined with Greek Revival manors, Dutch colonials, Tudor mansions and Mediterranean bungalows. Three of the city's highest-regarded private schools are also here: Riverdale Country, Horace Mann and Fieldston.
All four areas are characterized by their dense tree cover, rock outcroppings and steep slopes descending to the Hudson River. One of the most picturesque apartment complexes along the river is Villa Charlotte Bronte composed of 17 co-op apartments in two sections separated by a central courtyard. To preserve the area's natural character, in 1975 the city adopted Special Natural Area Districts, which carry zoning regulations that place restrictions on development.
On the hills overlooking the Hudson River sits the notable, Wave Hill estate. The 19th century mansion features numerous public gardens and a cultural centre which celebrates education, horticulture, and the arts. A commemorative, 16-foot bronze statue of the English navigator, Henry Hudson, stands on top of the massive column monument in Henry Hudson Park.