Suffern

Suffern is a village in Rockland County, near the southern border of the county and the state in the Town of Ramapo. As of the 2000 census, Suffern's population was 11,006.

 

History

The Village of Suffern was founded in 1796. John Suffern, first Rockland County judge, 1798-1806, after whom the town is named, settled near the base of the Ramapo Mountains in 1773. It was originally called New Antrim, after Suffern's hometown in Ireland. New Antrim's location was considered strategically important in the American Revolutionary War due to its location near Ramapo Pass.

During the war, Commander-in-Chief General George Washington and his regiment made camp in the village. Lafayette Avenue, the main street of Suffern, is named in honor of Revolutionary War hero Marie Joseph Paul Yves Rock Gilbert du Motier, better known as the Marquis de Lafayette. On August 25, 1781, French troops encamped in New Antrim. A historical marker on Washington Avenue, near Lafayette Avenue, identifies the area as "Rochambeau's Encampment 1781-1782". Comte de Rochambeau made his headquarters at John Suffern's New Antrim Tavern. Thousands of French and Revolutionary soldiers camped here on their way to Yorktown, Virginia where they and 3,000 Virginia militia led by Lafayette, fought British General Lord Charles Cornwallis and his forces at the Siege of Yorktown, a pivitol battle that ultimately led to victory.

Smith's Clove, Sidman's Clove - From Suffern to Monroe was a main route of travel through western Hudson Highlands. The main road was Albany Post Road, one of oldest roads in the state, which served as the stagecoach line between Albany, New York and New York City and was heavily traveled in winter when the Hudson River froze over. The 20 miles of road through the Pass became the Orange Turnpike (now Route 17). In 1800, tolls were collected until 1886 to maintain and improve road. The New York State Thruway now runs through the Pass. The South entrance to the town was garrisoned during the Revolution.

The first railroad line across Rockland County (the Erie Railroad) was built in 1841 and ran from Piermont to Ramapo. By 1851, the line was extended to Lake Erie, and was considered an engineering marvel. The tracks are now owned by the Norfolk Southern line.

In 1897, Avon Products built a small (3000 square foot) laboratory in Suffern; by 1971 the lab would grow into the 323,000 square foot Avon Suffern Research and Development facility. In late 2005, construction was finished on a state-of-the art, 225,000 square foot facility that would become Avon's global hub for research and development. The new building was constructed on the same site as their previous R&D facility, which was demolished for site parking.

In 1916, what would become New York State Route 59, which reached from Nyack to Spring Valley in 1915, was extended to Suffern and Ramapo Hamlet.

In 1924, Lafayette Theatre, also named for the Revolutionary War hero the Marquis de Lafayette open its doors.

In 1972, the Salvation Army moved their School for Officer Training to a 30-acre site in Suffern.

 

Geography

Manhattan skyline from Nordkop Mountain in Suffern.
Manhattan skyline from Nordkop Mountain in Suffern.

 

Suffern is located at 41°6′43″N, 74°8′45″W (41.111828, -74.145796).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 5.5 km (2.1 mi). 5.4 km² (2.1 mi²) of it is land and 0.1 km² (0.04 mi²) of it (1.42%) is water.

 

Demographics

As of the census of 2000, there were 11,006 people, 4,634 households, and 2,836 families residing in the village. The population density was 2,033.2/km² (5,265.8/mi²). There were 4,762 housing units at an average density of 879.7/km² (2,278.4/mi²). The racial makeup of the village was 86.83% White, 3.53% African American, 0.26% Native American, 2.83% Asian, 0.09% Pacific Islander, 4.52% from other races, and 1.94% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 12.87% of the population.

There were 4,634 households out of which 25.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.6% were married couples living together, 10.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.8% were non-families. 32.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 3.00.

In the village the population was spread out with 20.1% under the age of 18, 7.4% from 18 to 24, 32.9% from 25 to 44, 24.7% from 45 to 64, and 14.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 92.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.7 males.

The median income for a household in the village was $59,754, and the median income for a family was $74,937. Males had a median income of $46,959 versus $36,093 for females. The per capita income for the village was $29,208. About 3.5% of families and 5.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.6% of those under age 18 and 6.4% of those age 65 or over.

 

Popular Culture

  • Suffern High School provided the high school scenes for The Manhattan Project which featured John Lithgow, Christopher Collet, and Cynthia Nixon.
  • Suffern was the fictional setting for Aidan's country house in the HBO TV Show "Sex And The City", Season 4, Episodes 57:Sex and the Country and 58:Belles of the Balls. Suffern is portrayed as a rustic farm town somewhere outside New York City. In reality, Suffern is densely populated with a population of over 11,000. Most likely, producers chose Suffern because its name closely resembles the term "sufferin'" which aptly describes protagonist Carrie's experience when roughing it outside the city.
  • SUNY's Rockland Community College, while not in Suffern proper, is the location of the annual Northeast Astronomer's Forum (NEAF) sponsored by Sky and Telescope magazine and the Rockland Astonomical Society.

 

Famous Natives and Residents

Christine Andreas - two-time-nominated Broadway actress, Broadway credits include "My Fair Lady," "Oklahoma," and "On Your Toes."

  • Dave Annable - Actor
  • Jay Beckenstein of jazz fusion group Spyro Gyra built his recording studio, BearTracks Studios, in Suffern.
  • Keith Bulluck - NFL Outside Linebacker for the Tennessee Titans
  • Chris Caffery Guitarist for Savatage and Trans-Siberian Orchestra, now solo artist
  • Will Cunnane - Minor League pitcher for the Memphis Redbirds, has played for the Atlanta Braves, San Diego Padres, Milwaukee Brewers, and Chicago Cubs.
  • Tim Daly - Actor, best known for TV sitcom Wings
  • Tyne Daly - Actress, best known for TV sitcom Cagney & Lacey and TV drama Judging Amy
  • Gia Farrell - Singer
  • Valerie Harper - Actress, best known for her role as Rhoda Morgenstern on the 1970s TV sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore Show
  • Joe Lockhart - White House Press Secretary under President Bill Clinton
  • Thomas Meehan - Tony award winning author famous for writing Annie and The Producers
  • Tommy Murphy - Major League Baseball player for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
  • C.J. Nitkowski - Former first round draft choice, has played for the New York Yankees, Atlanta Braves, Washington Nationals, Texas Rangers, New York Mets, Houston Astros, Detroit Tigers, and Cincinnati Reds during his career. Currently he plays for the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks in Japan.
  • Carole Radziwill - author/journalist
  • Claudio Sanchez - Vocalist and guitar player for the band Coheed and Cambria.
  • Michelle Pantoliano - Anchor for Naked News
  • Walt Weiss - Former baseball player for the Oakland Athletics, Florida Marlins, Atlanta Braves, and Colorado Rockies

 

Transportation

Suffern station serves both local and express trains, operated by New Jersey Transit and Metro North, to Hoboken, Secaucus, and there is a connecting service at Secaucus to New York and other New Jersey points. Most New Jersey Transit's Main Line trains use Suffern for its northern terminus of the line; however, some trains, especially Metro North trains, continue into Orange County to Port Jervis. Transport of Rockland is a bus service in Suffern serving Rockland County.

US Route 202, New York Route 59, Interstate 287, and Interstate 87 (also known as New York State Thruway) all go through Suffern.

 

Landmarks and Places of Interest

  • Brooklands Park - Lake Road - Site of Brooklands, home of Daniel Beard, a founder of Boy Scouts of

America.

  • Lafayette Theater - 97 Lafayette Ave Rockland’s only surviving movie palace, built 1924, renovated in 1927 and having a renovated 1931 Wurlitzer pipe organ installed by the Theater Organ Society in 1992.
  • Suffern Railroad Museum - 1 Erie Plaza
  • Suffern Village Museum - 61 Washington Ave., Suffern, NY 10901 • 357-0649 - Exhibits relating to the history of Suffern and the Ramapo area. Includes displays relating to American Indians, original Avon products, nearby iron mines and Dan Beard, one of the founders of the Boy Scouts of America. Traveling Trunk program is available for classroom use, 4th-7th grade. Trunk holds items representing Rockland history from 1741-1841. Open Sunday, 2-4 pm, September through June.
  • Suffern Free Library - (The Ramapo Room contains books, clippings and photographs of western Ramapo.)210 Lafayette Avenue
  • United States Post Office
  • Washington Avenue Soldier's Monument & Triangle - Washington Avenue

 

External links