New Rochelle (French: Nouvelle-Rochelle) is a city in the southeast portion of the U.S. state of New York in Westchester County, 16 miles (26 km) from Grand Central Terminal in New York City and 2 miles north of the border with The Bronx. It lies on the Long Island Sound east of Mount Vernon. Settled by Huguenots (French Protestants) in 1688, it is mainly residential with some light industry. The city is named after the city of La Rochelle in France, which was a stronghold of the Huguenots. In 2000, the city had a population of 72,182. It is one of the largest suburbs of New York City, the seventh-largest city in the state of New York, and the second-largest city in Westchester County.
The city is serviced by the Metro-North and Amtrak railroads and Westchester County's Bee-Line bus service. Parking is available for the train at the New Rochelle station.
Local highways include I-95, the Hutchinson River Parkway "a.k.a. the Hutch", and I-287 is not far away.
New Rochelle's history began with the purchase by Thomas Pell of the Pelham Manor tract, of which the city became part, from the Siwanoy Indians in 1654. Also in 1689, John Pell officially deeded the 6,100 acres (25 km© ÷) of New Rochelle to Jacob Leisler. In 1775 General George Washington stops in New Rochelle on his way to assume command of the Army of the United Colonies in Cambridg, Massachusetts. In October of 1776, the British Army occupies New Rochelle and Larchmont. General Sir William Howe establishes headquarters on the heights above North Avenue opposite Eastchester Road. Through the 18th century, New Rochelle, with a 1790 population of 692 residents, remained a modest village. It retained an abundance of agricultural land, 300 acres (1.2 km© ÷) of which was awarded in 1784 to the patriot Thomas Paine by New York State for his service to the cause of independence. Paine, however spent little time at the estate. Now located on a small street in New Rochelle, the Thomas Paine Cottage is a small museum where many Revolutionary re-enactments are played out. In the early part of the 20th century, the County's famous Glen Island Casino on Long Island Sound continued to draw such celebrities as Glenn Miller, the Dorsey Brothers and Ozzie Nelson. In 1930, New Rochelle's population hit 54,000, up from 36,213, in 1920. In the early 30's it was the wealthiest city per capita in New York State, the third wealthiest in the country.
Part of downtown New Rochelle near the Metro North train station was revitalized in the summer of 1999 with the opening of the $190 million New Roc City, an entertainment complex featuring a 19-screen movie theater, Westchester's first IMAX theater, mini-golf, go karts, an arcade, a health club, restaurants, a hotel, and a supermarket. New Roc City was built on the former Macy's and Mall in New Rochelle sites. The Mall, which had opened in 1968 was an early "downtown mall."
Additional revitalization has come by way of new luxury residences. The construction of Avalon On The Sound East, a luxury apartment complex was unveiled by AvalonBay Communities in 2007. Trump Plaza, a 39-story building which is under construction as of 2007, will be the tallest building in Westchester County at and the tallest between New York City and Albany.
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