Pearl River is situated just 17 miles north of Manhattan and an hour-long ride on a New Jersey Transit train to Hoboken (there are also a variety of commuter buses available), this charming suburb is an ideal commuter town. Although not everyone has to make the trek to New York: One Blue Hill Plaza, Rockland County’s first skyscraper, is here, with its 21 floors of office space. The commercial landholder is Glorious Sun Robert Martin, a Manhattan- and Hong Kong-based real estate company that owns the 1.1 million square foot business center, one of the largest office parks between New York City and Albany.
The two Blue Hill buildings — the taller one, at 21 stories, was one of the county’s first skyscrapers in the early 1970s — are on 93 heavily treed acres along Veteran’s Memorial Drive in the southeast section. (The building also contains the Blue Hill Art and Cultural Center, which has changing exhibits of works by artists both local and otherwise.) Pfizer, another major commercial landowner, occupies a 550-acre site, most of it in the northern part of the hamlet..
Pearl River is home to a huge Irish population; in fact, the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade that proudly marches through town is the second largest in the state. But year-round, signs of Irish pride are everywhere in this down-to-earth downtown: there are pubs galore and at least three Irish gift shops.
Parks make up more than one-third of Rockland County, including town, recreational, and historic sites — not to mention numerous nature reserves and trails. Park land abounds in Pearl River. Anglers can fish for trout in Pascack North Park.
In the center of town sits Braunsdorf Memorial Park — the oldest in the environs, named for the founder of Pearl River, who built the train station in 1873 (it’s still there). And the Henry V. Borst Memorial Gardens, an arboretum on three acres, is a perfect place for a picnic.
Pearl River is also a great place to hit the links.
Blue Hill Golf Course, a 27-hole golf facility, is operated by the Town of Orangetown, and offers discounts and preferential tee times for residents.
A well-kept secret is that housing is considerably more affordable in Pearl River than it is in most other areas of Rockland County. And with the town’s recreation options and rather vibrant scene — besides the pubs, and a micro brewery, La Quinta Steakhouse offers great grub (including a $10 prixe fixe lunch deal) — to the opulant Hilton – there’s activity options to suit all tastes.
Location: Hamlet in Orangetown in Rockland County, just north of New Jersey
Median Household Income: $77,000
Nomenclature: With the discovery of pearls in the mussels of what was then the village of Muddy Creek, residents voted to upgrade “Creek” to “River” and “Muddy” to “Pearl.”
Notable residents: Dan Fortmann, Chicago Bears football player and Hall of Fame lineman
REAL ESTATE TRENDS
The simple good looks: small- and medium-size Capes and colonials on well-kept lots is one reason residents love living here. Another is the homespun values of many residents and merchants.
Another plus: Even as home prices in trendier neighboring towns rose sharply in the early 2000s and then plummeted in the market crash, the value of a typical Pearl River ranch inched slowly up to the $400,000s and held relatively steady.
Properties next to the Hudson had more demand and soared in price more quickly. And while communities like Pearl River did not, they also did not fall as much in value. It’s been a safe, solid investment for a lot of buyers.
WHAT YOU’LL FIND
Pearl River has about 16,000 people; it is 17 miles north of Manhattan and and sits on the New Jersey border. Slightly less than half of its seven-square-mile area is zoned residential. Of the rest, about half a square mile is set aside as open space and about a third of a square mile as parkland; the remainder is commercial, according to the assessor’s office.
One of the largest parks is the municipal Blue Hill Golf Course to the east, overlooking Lake Tappan, a reservoir that cuts through Orangetown.
The hamlet was laid out in the 1870s around Central Avenue downtown. Today, roads fanning out from the avenue are lined with tidy bungalows, ranches, Capes and colonials, on lots of one-eighth to three-fourths of an acre throughout the hilly terrain.
WHAT YOU’LL PAY
Prices range from $329,000, for a two-bedroom one-and-a-half-bath ranch, to $1.5 million for a five-bedroom three-and-a-half-bath colonial. The median for a single-family house in 2009 was $418,000, down from $445,000 the year before and $443,300 in 2004, according to the Greater Hudson Valley Multiple Listing Service.
The Pearl River School District — which educates 2,700 students in three elementary schools, a middle school, and a high school — offers enriched activities for “advanced learners” starting in the second grade. (Pre-kindergarten services are also available on a limited basis.) With 35 clubs and 70 sports teams at the secondary level, the district’s drop-out rate for 2007-8 was zero percent.
There are three private secondary school options in Rockland County.
Blue Rock School serves grades K-8, and is located in Nyack. Green Meadow, a Waldorf school in close by Chestnut Ridge is for students in grades K-12. Rockland Country Day School serves students in grades Pre-K through 12.
Pearl River is also close to numerous post-secondary and graduate schools. Programs for two-year, four year and post graduate studies are available in the county:
Location: Pearl River
You can also visit our “Living In Rockland” page on Facebook for up-to-date events and information.
Containing all you need to know about moving to this area