East Versus West: What Side of the River Is Right For You? #1

We’re going to spend a lot of time in the future talking about the differences between the east and west sides of the Hudson. We expect it will draw some ire from both sides, and that’s fine. Let’s duke it out once and for all–which side do you think is better, and why? We’ll be polling residents, real estate agents and vacationers for their opinions, but in the meantime, here are some quotes I gathered from a recent upstate trip. You’ll notice some of them take a morally superior tone on behalf of the east side residents–those who live in Tivoli, Germantown, Milan, Ancram and other hamlets serviced by the Taconic and Amtrak. On the other hand, the west side has one big leg up on the east: cheaper prices.

  • “The west side is for people who want to be in nature; the east side is for people who want to look at nature. Do you want to be in the mountains, or have mountain views?”
  • “The west side has a lot more gray ponytails.”
  • “The west side has folk artists who paint flowers; the east side has Chelsea artists who make sculptures of folk artists painting flowers.” 
  • “On the west side, you have access to big box services (like the Wal-Mart and Target along 9W in Kingston); on the east side, you have boutique services.”
  • “On the east side, you get the sense that man has conquered nature; on the west side, you still feel that nature reigns.”

Well, folks? Agree? Disagree? Have a strong allegiance to one side or the other? We are prepared to eat our hats here, although, for the record, these are not the opinions of Upstater, just the opinions of people Upstater happened to be hanging out with.

About lisa

I'm a freelance writer (and thus, not a homeowner), specializing in real estate, urban planning and sustainability. Also, I just like looking at pictures of houses.

Posted on July 11, 2011, in Catskills, East Versus West, hudson valley real estate. Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. I like the access to great restaurants, theater, dance, Tanglewood, etc. the east side provides. That said, I’m always hearing about music shows in Woodstock on WDST I wish I were closer to attend.

  2. Love this debate. We are on the west side (West Camp in fact) and love this side. I do know that most real estate ads for the east side use “view of the Catskills” as a marketing tool.

  3. You get more for your money on the west side, especially in Delaware County. Rural and charming, with lots of farms…they way upstate used to be.

  4. I fell in love with Upstate on the East Side, but bought on the West Side. Yes, there’s more bang for your buck, but there’s also plenty to do. Saugerties/Woodstock have as much to offer on the culinary/cultural front as Tivoli/Rhinebeck, and just FYI, we do have non-folk-art types here as well, if you want that sort of thing. Peter Nadin—who has more cred than him?

  5. Instead of east v. west, I would love it if you’d look at mass-transit accessible v. not. As a New Yorker who refuses to garage a car in Manhattan, I’m only interested in the HRV because I can take the train there. The Port Jervis line gives me hope for the west side, but I fear it is misplaced. I’d be interested to hear more about the proximity of each featured property to the train and more about the relationship between mass transit and quality of life, in general.

  6. I live in Brooklyn but have a house in Orange County and am very biased towards the West Side. Actually I am biased towards Orange County in particular! We have everything here. Not just Woodbury Commons, West Point and Orange County Choppers. Yeah, those are the biggest tourist draws but what about Storm King Art Center in Mountainville (part of the town of Cornwall, but if you are relying on GPS, use New Windsor (scratching head). . . Also, for every single Sunday afternoon this summer, spectacular Route 218 between Cornwall-on-Hudson and West Point is free of car traffic, open only to walkers, joggers and bicyclists. See this website for more reasons why the West is the Best (specifically Orange County!: http://www.thecountysbest.com Also, there’s nothing wrong with the Port Jervis branch of Metro-North. The view from the trestle as the train approaches the SalisburyMills/Cornwall station is gorgeous.

    • I’m an Orange County fan as well. For Bannerman’s Island alone you have my eternal love and admiration. That place is like something out of Game of Thrones.

  7. I am confused about the train issue I guess. I mean, there are bridges! 🙂 I live in Woodstock and the amtrak takes me 20 minutes to drive to, and there are plenty of places near the bridges that are much closer than me on the West side of the Hudson. I think both have their benefits, and I think both areas are shaded by stereotypes and cliches based on the more popular towns. For instance people think of the artsy fartsy hippie angle for the west side because of towns like Woodstock, and they think of the East side as the upper crusted blue blood area because of towns like Rhinebeck. Both sides have much more to offer though than their cliche.

    • The train issue is, quite simply, in order to get to the west side and commune with our sandal clad friends, a manhattanite has to fork over $500+ a month just to garage their car in the City. I guess they could always hire out one stall of someone’s 2 stall garage upstate and park it there, but why bother when an upstate taxi will get you to a new slightly more expensive east-side home where you can garage your grocery-getter for free? Sure you’d still have to travel across the Hudson to buy granola, but with all the money you’re saving on garage expenses, you can pick up a bunch of herb infused candels while you’re at it!

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