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Rockland County, New York
Map of New York highlighting Rockland County
Location in the state of New York (state)
Map of USA NY
New York's location in the U.S.
Founded 1798
Seat New City
Largest city New City
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

199 sq mi (515 km²)
174 sq mi (451 km²)
25 sq mi (65 km²), 12.60%
 - (2000)
 - Density

1,647/sq mi (636/km²)
Tappan Zee Bridge from below

The Tappan Zee Bridge, in a view looking toward Rockland.

Rockland County is a county located in the U.S. state of New York, 12 miles north-northwest of New York City. As of the 2000 census, the population was 286,753. The county seat is New City. The name comes from "rocky land," an early description of the area given by settlers. Rockland is New York's southernmost county west of the Hudson River. It is suburban in nature, with a considerable amount of scenic designated parkland.

Rockland County ranks 9th on the list of highest-income counties by median household income in the United States with $75,306 according to the 2004 census. It is served by area code 845.

History Edit

The area that would become Rockland County was originally inhabited by Algonquian-speaking Indians, including Munsees, or Lenni Lenape.

In 1609, Henry Hudson, thinking he had found the legendary "Northwest Passage", sailed up the river that would one day bear his name and anchored near the area that is now Haverstraw before continuing to disillusionment at Albany.

The area was originally settled by the Dutch. A number of unique Dutch-style red sandstone houses still stand, and many placenames in the county reveal their Dutch origin.

When the Duke of York (who became King James II of England) established the first twelve counties of New York in 1683, present-day Rockland County was part of Orange County. Orangetown was created at the same time, originally encompassing all of modern Rockland County. Haverstraw was separated from Orangetown in 1719 and became a town in 1788; it included the present-day Clarkstown, Ramapo and Stony Point. Clarkstown and Ramapo became towns in 1791, followed by Stony Point in 1865. Rockland County was split from Orange County in 1798.

During the American Revolution, when control of the Hudson River was viewed by the British as strategic to dominating the American territories, Rockland saw skirmishes at Haverstraw, Nyack and Piermont, and significant military engagements at the Battle of Stony Point, where General "Mad" Anthony Wayne earned his nickname. George Washington had headquarters for a time at John Suffern's tavern, the later site of the village of Suffern.

British Major John André met with American traitor Benedict Arnold near Stony Point to buy the plans for the fortifications at West Point. André was captured with the plans in Tarrytown on his way back to the British lines; he was brought to Tappan for trial in the Tappan church, found guilty, hanged and buried nearby.

The American Industrial Revolution was supplied, in part, from forests and iron mines in Rockland County. Resource utilization extracted a heavy toll on the region, especially from lumbering and agriculture, since the poor, thin soils on hillsides were easily depleted. By the early 1900s development along the lower Hudson River had begun to destroy much of the area's natural beauty.

Many unsuccessful efforts were made to turn much of the Hudson Highlands into a forest preserve. However, when the State of New York tried to relocate Sing Sing Prison to Bear Mountain in 1909, some of the wealthy businessmen who had homes in the area, led by Union Pacific Railroad president E. H. Harriman, donated land as well as large sums of money for the purchase of properties in the area of Bear Mountain. Bear Mountain/Harriman State Park became a reality in 1910, and by 1914 it was estimated that more than a million people a year were coming to the park.


County ExecutiveEdit

The county executive is C. Scott Vanderhoef (R), who was re-elected in 2005 to his fourth four-year term. He is the second county executive in Rockland history, having defeated the incumbent, John Grant (D), in 1993. Vanderhoef ran for Lieutenant Governor in 2006. Prior to 1985, Rockland County did not have a county executive.

County LegislatureEdit

Rockland is divided into 17 single-member legislative districts. The Chairwoman of the Legislature is Harriet Cornell (D). The other legislators are: Gerold Bierker (R-C), Connie Coker (D), William Darden (D), Edwin Day (R), Theodore Dusanenko (R), David Fried (D), Michael Grant (D), Jay Hood Jr. (D), Douglas Jobson (R), Bruce Levine (D), John Murphy (R), Patrick Moroney (R), V.J. Pradhan (D), Ilan Schoenberger (D), Philip Soskin (D), and Patrick Withers (D).

County CourtsEdit

There are three types of general trial courts in Rockland County: the New York Supreme Court, the County Court and the Justice Courts. The Supreme Court is the trial level court of the New York State Unified Court System, which presents some confusion as the Supreme Court is the highest court of appeals in the federal system as well as in most states (the Court of Appeals is the highest court in New York State). The Supreme Court has broad authority over all categories of cases, both civil and criminal. Generally the Supreme Court in Rockland County hears civil cases involving claims in excess of $25,000. While the Supreme Court has jurisdiction over criminal cases in most counties this is handled by the County Courts. In Rockland however, the Supreme Court does exercise jurisdiction over some criminal cases.

The County Court is inferior to the Supreme Court and is authorized to hear all criminal cases that have occurred in the county as well as limited jurisdiction over civil cases. The County Court handles felony cases exclusively and shares jurisdiction with the town and village justice courts on midemeanor cases and other minor offenses and violations. The County Court's jurisdiction on civil cases is limited to those involving less than $25,000.

Each of the towns and fifteen of the villages have Justice Courts. These courts mostly hear routine traffic ticket cases, especially from the New York State Thruway and the Palisades Interstate Parkway. They also handle drunk driving charges, lower-level criminal misdemeanor matters, and they will occasionally perform arraignment on felonies (most felony proceedings are heard in County Court). These courts generally handle the highest volume of cases, which, considering the population density and highways in the county, is not surprising.


Pine Meadow Lake

Pine Meadow Lake in Harriman State Park.

Rockland County lies just north of the New Jersey-New York border, west of the Hudson River, and south of Orange County.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 516 km² (199 sq mi). 451 km² (174 sq mi) of it is land and 65 km² (25 sq mi) of it (12.60%) is water. Approximately 30% of Rockland County is parkland.

The highest elevation in the county is Rockhouse Mountain, at 391 m (1,283 feet). However, nearby Jackie Jones Mountain also has a summit above 390 m (1,280 feet) whose exact elevation is not known and may well be higher.

The lowest elevation is sea level along the Hudson River.

Rockland is the smallest county in New York outside of New York City

Adjacent countiesEdit

Rockland's borders with Putnam and Passaic counties are short, totalling little more than one mile.


As of the census² of 2000, there were 286,753 people, 92,675 households, and 70,989 families residing in the county. The population density was 636/km² (1,646/sq mi). There were 94,973 housing units at an average density of 210/km² (545/sq mi). However, Rocklanders live closer together than the census numbers indicate, as 30 percent of the county is reserved as parkland. The racial makeup of the county was 76.91% White, 10.98% Black or African American, 0.24% Native American, 5.52% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 3.78% from other races, and 2.51% from two or more races. 10.18% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 9.17% reported speaking Spanish at home, 4.96% Yiddish, 4.33% French or a French-based creole, 1.45% Italian, 1.30% Tagalog, 1.25% Hebrew, and 1.01% Russian. Other languages spoken at home by at least 1000 people include Malayalam, Korean, Chinese, German, and Polish.[1]

The 2005 estimates show that Rockland county remains a diverse place. 69.2% of the population was grouped under the heading "non-Hispanic whites" but with such high numbers of speakers of such languages as Russian and Italian, this figure hid more than it revealed. The percentage of African-Americans had risen to 11.9. Native Americans were gaining ground now constituting 0.3% of the population. Asians continued to grow in their percentage of the county population, now making up 6.4% of the population. Latinos were now 12.2% of the population.[1]

In 2000 there were 92,675 households out of which 37.60% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 62.80% were married couples living together, 10.30% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.40% were non-families. 19.30% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.80% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.01 and the average family size was 3.47.

In the county the population was spread out with 28.00% under the age of 18, 7.90% from 18 to 24, 28.00% from 25 to 44, 24.30% from 45 to 64, and 11.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 95.30 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.30 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $75,306, and the median income for a family was $86,624. Males had a median income of $58,214 versus $43,955 for females. The per capita income for the county was $31,680. The mean, or average, income for a family in Rockland County is $102,542 according to the 2004 census. About 6.30% of families and 9.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.30% of those under age 18 and 7.60% of those age 65 or over.

31.4% of Rockland residents are Jewish, the highest Jewish population per capita of any county in the United States. [2].The county is also home to several large Orthodox Jewish communities, especially in the hamlet of Monsey, and the villages of New Square, Kaser, New Hempstead, and Wesley Hills.

Communities in Rockland Edit

Map of Rockland County

County map, with town and village boundaries.

Hudson River Sunrise

Hudson River and village of Nyack


There are five towns in Rockland County:

Incorporated villagesEdit

There are nineteen incorporated villages in Rockland County, twelve of which are located at least partially in the town of Ramapo:

There are no villages in the town of Stony Point.

Unincorporated hamletsEdit

Rockland County has a number of unincorporated hamlets, including:

Historical settlementsEdit

  • Doodletown (Town of Stony Point) in Harriman State Park is now a ghost town.

Communities of significant populationEdit

According to the 2000 census, these nine Rockland communities have a population exceeding 10,000 people:

  1. New City, a hamlet of 34,038
  2. Spring Valley, a village of 25,464
  3. Nanuet, a hamlet of 16,707
  4. Pearl River, a hamlet of 15,553
  5. Monsey, a hamlet of 14,504
  6. Stony Point, a hamlet of 11,744
  7. Suffern, a village of 11,006
  8. West Haverstraw, a village of 10,295
  9. Haverstraw, a village of 10,117


School DistrictsEdit

There are 8 school districts in Rockland

Post-Secondary SchoolsEdit

Hospitals in Rockland CountyEdit

  • Helen Hayes Hospital - Route 9W West Haverstraw 10993 845-786-4225 Toll Free: 1-888-70-REHAB (73422), TTY: 845-947-3187, FAX: 845-947-3097 - One of the country’s first physical rehabilitation facilities, recognized as a leader in rehabilitation medicine and research. For over 100 years, Helen Hayes Hospital helped restore function to individuals with catastrophic injuries and chronic disabling illnesses, enabling them to move on to active, productive, independent and fulfilling lives using state-of-the-art equipment and technology, making recovery a reality.
  • Good Samaritan Hospital, 255 Lafayette Ave., Suffern 10901 (845) 368-5000, is a non-profit, 370-bed hospital providing emergency, medical, surgical, obstetrical / gynecological and acute care services to residents of Rockland and southern Orange Counties in New York; and northern Bergen County, New Jersey. The hospital also serves these communities as an Area Level II Trauma Center.
  • Nyack Hospital, 160 North Midland Ave Nyack 10960. (845) 348-2000, is a 375-bed community acute care medical and surgical hospital located at
  • Summit Park Hospital & Nursing Care Center, Pomona 10970. (845) 364-2700 (Daytime Phone), (845) 364-2910 (Night & Weekend).
  • Health Care for the Disabled and Mental Health Community includes Jawonio the premiere resource for individuals with developmental disabilities, mental health challenges, and chronic medical conditions. 845.708.2000 in New City, NY

Twin/Sister citiesEdit

Rockland County has been paired with Huehuete, Nicaragua as its Sister City.

Additionally, the town of Ramapo is twinned with a number of cities.

Famous/Notable people from Rockland CountyEdit

Additionally, singer-songwriter Regina Spektor produced a demo named "Rockland County", about staying with a relative in Rockland County after coming to America from Russia.

See alsoEdit


External linksEdit

Coordinates: 41°09′N 74°02′W / 41.15, -74.03

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Rockland County, New York. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.
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