Four years ago, Hurricane Sandy flooded an estimated 150 homes and many businesses were closed for weeks or months. The financial impact surpassed $20 million, according to the Piermont Waterfront Resilience Task Force. “It was one of the worst times ever, but also one of the best times,” said Piermont’s mayor, Chris Sanders, recalling how the community pulled together. “When you live that close to the river, you appreciate what she is.”
Many in the village have also united to protest the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s proposal to eradicate invasive reeds that grow in the Piermont Marsh, threatening biodiversity. The original plan called for the use of herbicides to kill the reeds, which were to be replaced with native plants. The decision is pending.
What You’ll Find
The housing stock includes blocky brick colonials, Victorians with doubledecker front porches and craftsman cottages. Many are stacked on a hillside or sit near the water. Newer condominium developments extend along the pier.
Deborah L. Blankfort, the owner of William Raveis Baer & McIntosh, with an office in Piermont, said the threat of storms hasn’t kept buyers from shopping near the river, where flood insurance is mandatory. “People still want to be on the water,” she said. “They just have to pay more.” She has noted an increasing number of buyers from across the Hudson, in Westchester County, who are attracted to the lower (which is not to say low) taxes, concentration of artists and feeling of open space.
Piermont Avenue, the main commercial street, has a variety of businesses. Costume earrings cost as little as $3 at Tappan Zee Thrift Shop (No. 454), which opened in 1966 in a former bar and sets out goods on the original bar rail. A 3.4-ounce bottle of customizable fragrance is $99 at Sillage of Piermont (No. 510). Stephen R. Strauhs, an accountant who said he wanted to do “something that had a sweeter smell,” founded the perfumery in December 2015.
What You’ll Pay
Richard Ellis, the managing member of Ellis Sotheby’s International Realty in Nyack, N.Y., said the median sales price for single-family homes and condominiums in Piermont in December 2016 was $470,000, a year-on-year decrease of 33.1 percent. This steep decline, he said, resulted from the large number of relatively inexpensive condominiums sold last year.
As of Jan. 20, the website of Weichert Realtors advertised 45 homes in Piermont drawn from multiple listings, ranging from a $175,000 one-bedroom condo at 68 Roundtree Circle to a $2,895,000 house at 567 Piermont Avenue with five bedrooms.
On a recent snowy Saturday, Piermont’s pier was deserted, except for anglers setting lines in the rocks and the occasional dog walker. But there was a 20-minute wait for brunch at 14 & Hudson, a two-and-a-half-year-old restaurant at 457 Piermont Avenue owned and managed by Eric Woods and his wife, Paula Clemente Woods. Like many people, Mr. Woods, who was previously the executive chef at Blue Fin in Times Square, discovered Piermont on his bike. (The town is popular with cyclists.) He said he was attracted by the foot traffic, but keeps his guard up: “A lot of transplanted New Yorkers live in Piermont, so they do have expectations.”
Piermont is in the South Orangetown Central School District, which enrolls about 3,100 students from Rockland County communities. Children throughout the district attend William O. Schaefer School in Tappan, N.Y. (kindergarten through second grades), Cottage Lane Elementary School in Blauvelt, N.Y. (third through fifth grades), South Orangetown Middle School in Blauvelt (sixth through eighth grades) and Tappan Zee High School in Orangeburg, N.Y. (ninth through 12th grades).
Fifty-one percent of students in the district met 2015-16 standards in English versus 38 percent statewide; 49 percent met standards in math versus 39 percent statewide. SAT averages in 2015-16 were 550 in reading, 571 in math and 545 in writing, versus 489, 501 and 477 statewide.
Rockland Coaches offers a bus that takes about an hour to reach the Port Authority in Manhattan and costs $10.50 each way, or $176.95 for 20 trips. Tappan Zee Express bus service runs from Palisades Center in West Nyack to the Metro-North station in Tarrytown, N.Y. The trip takes about 20 minutes and costs $3. The train to New York takes 36 to 53 minutes; round-trip peak-hour fare is $27.
Piermont was originally called Tappan Slote or Tappan Landing. It was renamed in 1839 for its two prominent features: its newly built pier and the mountains around the town. Sparkill Creek, a Hudson River tributary that winds through Piermont Marsh, stood in for a Venetian canal for a 1917 movie called “The Hungry Heart.” In 1985, Woody Allen used Piermont as the Depression-era setting for his film “The Purple Rose of Cairo.”