Urban Hipsters or the Creative Class? The Hudson Valley is seeing a boom in urban pioneers moving from New York City and into upstate downtowns that offer a diverse, “edgy,” and vibrant atmosphere set amidst Victorian homes, brick, and awe-inspiring River panoramas. The “creative class,” or young, late twenties and thirty-somethings that are serious about starting families are migrating to places like Haverstraw, Peekskill, and Beacon. The creatives are also mainly employed in their own businesses, mostly in the entertainment or arts fields. The Hudson River villages are boasting major savings in housing costs, and access to nature and urban downtowns. On the other hand, the urban hipsters that are so famously “plaguing” – if you can call it that – Brooklyn, Jersey City, and parts of Harlem, are a younger band of wanderers that are beginning to frequent the Hudson River Villages as well. I would say that hipsters normally come before the creative class, which then creates a setting that might draw more conservative/safety-seeker residents that might be found, say, in places like Nyack and riverfront communities in lower Westchester.
Transit access to the city is widely available in these almost-hipster enclaves. Haverstraw has its ferries (and ferries to trains), Beacon has trains and a ferry to Newburgh (another hip-potential city). All have access to the mighty expanse of the Hudson. See a recent article in the NY Post about these Hudson Valley Pioneers. The true draw to these tiny villages include good school systems (for family newcomers), exposure to diversity not unlike New York City, beautiful vistas, quaint architecture and storefronts, transit access, and an urban setting that the creative class is having a hard time letting go.
It seems like the younger generations are sticking to cities more and more – yet, high prices and poor schools are driving young families to look elsewhere for a more manageable urban environment. These generations are also interested in becoming closer to nature, that the city lacks. Where else can one go to have both an urban environment, easy access to Manhattan, and the natural world at their fingertips?
The trend is intriguing when related to Haverstraw’s hopes for revitalization. As more urbanites move into these downtowns, more and more stores will open that cater to their tastes. Before long, we may see the hipster havens of the city like Starbucks, Whole Foods, and organic food co-ops popping up here. I guess we can only hope for that. However, many locals aren’t used to this new brand of people – we may see similar culture wars that have plagued areas like Greenwich Village (circa 1980s), Brooklyn (within the last decade), and the every-gentrified Harlem. It’s hard to envision what our urban oases of the Hudson Valley will resemble in the next 10 years.