After renting a two-bedroom apartment on the Upper West Side for several years, Anthony McGill and his wife, Abby, began to look around the neighborhood for a similar unit to buy about five years ago.
“We had lots of close calls, but we were outbid every time,” Mr. McGill said.
One day in the fall of 2015 they decided to take a look at lower-priced Riverdale. They instantly fell in love with a four-bedroom, 3½-bathroom duplex on the top floors of an eight-story condominium. And its price—$1.15 million—was about what they had budgeted for units half that size in Manhattan.
“This might be the best place I’ve ever lived,” said Mr. McGill, a classical musician who has lived in many cities and is now the principal clarinet for the New York Philharmonic. “It’s like its own little town up here.”
Located on 3 square miles in the northwestern section of the Bronx, Riverdale is an affluent, leafy enclave easily confused with suburbs well to the north of the city.
“It’s really one of the most beautiful places in New York City,” said Dan Padernacht, chairman of Bronx Community Board 8. “Riverdale is a hidden gem. It’s a good mix of city and suburbs.”
With a diverse housing stock that includes condos, co-ops, single-family houses and rental buildings, Riverdale has long been a popular market for people seeking more affordable housing in the city.
“Riverdale prices are maybe a third of what they would be in Manhattan or Brooklyn,” said Joan Kuzniar, a real-estate agent with Robert E. Hill Inc. and 24-year Riverdale resident.
One-bedroom rentals “start at $1,600 and go up to say $2,100 for an apartment in a doorman building,” Ms. Kuzniar said. “Studios start at $1,200 and go up to $1,900.
“The market has bounced back over the last couple of years,” she said. “We’re seeing a lot of people who are curious about Riverdale and are learning about Riverdale for the first time.”
Along with buyers from Brooklyn and Manhattan, “we’re also seeing a lot of Westchester people who are selling their homes and downsizing and still want to be in the city,” Ms. Kuzniar said.
Riverdale, with a population approaching 50,000, has three concentrated shopping areas, Mr. Padernacht said: the Broadway corridor, the South Riverdale shopping district on Johnson Avenue and South Riverdale Avenue, and the North Riverdale shopping district along Riverdale Avenue.
One of Riverdale’s many treasures is the carefully tended Wave Hill public garden, site of the estate where both Mark Twain and conductor Arturo Toscanini once lived. Since 1960, this 28-acre botanical garden and cultural center has been owned by the City of New York.
Tucked next to Wave Hill, the 15-acre Riverdale Historic District has many grand homes from the second half of the 19th century and the early 20th set among handsome rocky topography and hilly, curved roads.
The Fieldston section of Riverdale is also known for its stately single-family homes on scenic lots.
Mr. McGill likes Riverdale’s proximity to Manhattan and the Henry Hudson Parkway. “I’m 30 seconds from the highway and then it’s a 30-minute drive to Lincoln Center.
“Basically, we have the same lifestyle here that we had on the Upper West Side,” he said. “We’ve got great Indian food, excellent Thai, great Mexican restaurants, and we walk to our favorite coffee shop.”
Schools: Riverdale is in the city’s District 10, which includes many other Bronx communities. There are three prestigious private schools in Riverdale: Ethical Culture Fieldston School, Horace Mann School and Riverdale Country School. There are also several schools with religious affiliations, including St. Margaret of Cortona School, St. Gabriel School, Salanter Akiba Riverdale Academy/High School, and Kinneret Day School. Riverdale is also home to the College of Mount St. Vincent and Manhattan College.
Parks: The woodland Riverdale Park runs along the Hudson River shoreline, with terrific river views and miles of walking trails. Van Cortlandt Park, one of New York City’s largest parks, has tennis and basketball courts, nature trails and a well-regarded public golf course. Ewen Park has basketball courts, dog runs and a playground.
Transportation: There are express buses into Manhattan and subway service via the No. 1 line. It is about a 25-minute ride to Grand Central Terminal on Metro-North’s Hudson line.
Dining: Tin Marin offers pan-Latin tapas and small plates. Beccofino serves homemade pastas and traditional Italian fare. At Jake’s Steakhouse, you’ll find the expected straightforward steakhouse menu, with craft beers and views of Van Cortlandt Park. The Corner Cafe Restaurant and Bakery serves simple vegetarian fare for breakfast and lunch along with homemade baked goods.
Entertainment: An Beal Bocht Cafe offers music, theater, art exhibits, comedy and poetry. Riverdale’s YM-YWHA hosts programs for all age groups, including theater, dance, jazz, art classes and exhibits, as well as swimming and a fitness center. The Corner Cafe and Bakery has live music, and the Riverdale Choral Society performs at neighborhood schools and centers.
If You’re Browsing for a Home…
640 W. 237th St., Apt. 5A
This two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo in the 19-story Solaria building has 10-foot ceilings, and floor-to-ceiling windows with custom shades throughout. The kitchen has top-of-the-line appliances and warm wood finishes. The master bathroom has radiant-heated floors and a soaking tub. The Solaria has a 24-hour concierge, fitness center, lounge and entertainment center, landscaped roof deck with extensive views and a children’s playroom. The apartment’s monthly common charges are $1,071.
Year Built: 2007
Square Footage: 1,427
Property Plus: Private deck; washer and dryer in the unit
Property Minus: It’s a bit of a hike, or a bus ride, to the closest subway station, but the building provides a shuttle to Manhattan.
Listing Date: Aug. 25
Listing Agents: Jonathan Rebibo and Sanjya Tidke of Halstead Property
Open House: By appointment
Friday, November 11, 2016