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Saturday, February 13, 2016

Editorial comment: Where we live now


Just what are Riverdale’s boundaries? Community historians and residents have been trying to answer that question for decades.

A Fieldston School student who interviewed a Press reporter for a school project recently asked a heck of a question. He wanted to know where Riverdale was.

No, it wasn’t a dumb question. We all know our neighborhood’s western boundary, the Hudson River, and its northern boundary, the city line. But does Riverdale end where Spuyten Duyvil begins? If so, just where is that? And as you move down the hill, where is the eastern boundary, and the southern?

The newspaper itself is not immune to confusion. Last year The Press published a correction that read: “A real estate transaction listing in the Dec. 6 issue misidentified the neighborhood of an apartment that sold at 6485 Broadway. It is in North Riverdale, not Kingsbridge.”

Now 6485 Broadway is at David Sheridan Plaza just north of Mosholu Avenue and four blocks from the Yonkers city line. No doubt what misled the staff was the Broadway address, since Broadway forms the commercial spine of Kingsbridge.\

But where on Broadway do you cross from Riverdale to Kingsbridge? The businesses themselves are no help: many of them want the cache of our community’s tonier addresses. Fieldston Automotive is on Kingsbridge Avenue. In its ads, Loehmann’s insists it’s in Riverdale, and under the el you find Riverdale Jewelers on Broadway and West 232nd Street, while Broadway Riverdale Meat Market is at the crossroads of Kingsbridge, Broadway and West 231st Street.

To the United State Postal Service, the answer is simple: if your zip code is 10471, you live in Riverdale; if it’s 10463, you live in Kingsbridge.

In the early 1960s, residents rose up in protest when the post office tried to put that theory into practice by announcing it would stop delivering letters addressed “Riverdale, N.Y.” but sent to zone 63. And we’re celebrating the 25th anniversary this year of the Spuyten Duyvil Association’s successful campaign to name the Kappock Street post office — zip code 10463 — the Spuyten Duyvil station.

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