Hipster havens in the suburbs


Upwards of 1.6 million young adults have college degrees in the New York City metro region, and many of them have grown fond of urban, walkable living.

The New York Times reported in February on Hudson River towns like Hastings, Dobbs Ferry,  Irvington, and Tarrytown where the hipsters head to when they leave the city to raise families.

“I don’t think we need to be in Brooklyn,” Marie Labropoulos, who recently moved to Dobbs Ferry and opened a shop, Kalliste, selling artisanal vegan soap, told The Times. “We’re bringing Brooklyn with us.”

The young professionals are making a cultural impact on these “pedestrian-friendly towns, filled with low-rise 19th century brick buildings and non-chain shops,” The Times reports. They may have a political impact as well.

Noted one urban planner on an architectural listserve: “There’s a lot of discussion about the inertia that New Urbanist planners and architects encounter when they work with townspeople. I don’t think it would be far fetched to suggest that the makeup of townspeople in many suburban areas may profoundly shift over the next 20 years in a pro-urbanism direction, as the people who will attend town hall meetings in the future may be more enthusiastic about street life than their parents.”

Although these historic towns, and others in the region, have ready-made culture and character that appeal to the former New Yorkers, they are in short supply compared to the wave of Millennials. The region has many more suburbs that have the potential for retrofit. Suburbs built in the first two decades after World War II, with connected street networks and canopies of trees, could be made more walkable with complete streets and mixed-use development on arterial roads. That could be the next project for hipsters after thay inhabit the old towns.