Real Estate

Coxsackie, N.Y.: ‘A Special Place on the Hudson’

Joel Readence fell in love with the house first.

In May 2021, Mr. Readence, 51, and his partner, Matt Berdine, 46, a sourcing manager for a clothing manufacturer, paid $407,000 for an artfully renovated, three-bedroom antique house with Hudson River views in the Greene County town of Coxsackie, N.Y.

“I didn’t find Coxsackie — I found the house,” said Mr. Readence, an executive coach for a large consulting firm, who now splits his time between Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and Coxsackie. “After sheltering for four months in an 800-square-foot apartment with my partner and our dog, I was on Zillow looking for places in the upstate area. When we saw the cottage and the town and learned a little more about it, it was really appealing to be a part of its renaissance.”

Perched on the west bank of the Hudson River, about 25 miles south of Albany, Coxsackie covers roughly 37 square miles — including an eponymous 2.17-square-mile village — with a population of 8,382, according to the 2020 census. The nearly five-acre Riverside Park, adjacent to the downtown area, offers stunning views.

“You just have beautiful, open park space and the most pristine riverfront,” said Aaron Flach, 47, a developer and a Coxsackie native. “It’s a beautiful natural landscape that sets us apart from any other community.”

Just a few years ago, Coxsackie’s historic downtown was pocked with boarded-up buildings. Now the Reed Street Historic District has boutique businesses like the Reed Street Bottle Shop and the antiques store UnQuiet. On a six-acre riverside site, Mr. Flach is building a $15 million hospitality project that includes a 47-room hotel with a top-floor restaurant and deck, and a spa inside a restored electric light station. Last November, he opened a 13,000-square-foot event space in a 1906 factory adjoining the hotel site, with a glass atrium overlooking the river. Called The Wire, after the wire manufacturer that once owned the building, it has 27 events booked so far in 2023.

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation recently made $3.2 million worth of improvements to Riverside Park, including the construction of a pavilion and renovations to the boat launch. And in 2021, the state’s Main Street grant program awarded $347,000 to the Reed Street Historic District to help preserve and protect its buildings.

“Between Mr. Flach’s project and the park, our entire riverfront area will have been renovated,” said Mark Evans, 57, a Coxsackie native who has been the mayor of the village since 2009. “It’s a special place on the Hudson.”

Mr. Flach, he added, is renovating buildings that “had been vacant since I was a kid.”

Historic buildings line the streets in the village of Coxsackie.Credit…Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

The boutique shops popping up in historic buildings near the waterfront have helped the area approach “critical mass,” said Sarah Gray Miller, 51, a former magazine editor and self-described “mad collector” from Natchez, Miss., who opened UnQuiet in December 2021 after selling her house in nearby Athens, N.Y.

Her store occupies a 2,400-square-foot, late-19th-century brick building, once the site of a firehouse and a jail, which Ms. Miller rents for $2,500 a month.

Ms. Miller began serving customers wine on Saturday afternoons and soon found herself holding a regular B.Y.O.B. gathering that evolved into a plan to open a bar with Mark Deubert, a fourth-generation Coxsackie resident. Named Ravish Liquors, after a neon sign Ms. Miller found at a Hudson, N.Y., flea market, it is expected to open this month with a Southern bar-food menu that includes crawfish étouffée.

Coxsackie “is a very civilized place,” Ms. Miller said. “It’s incredibly welcoming to all the outsiders moving in. It does not have the same us-versus-them mentality that you see elsewhere in Greene County.”

70 ELY STREET | A six-bedroom, five-bathroom house, built in 1900 on 9.33 acres, listed for $899,000. 518-755-3296Credit…Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

What You’ll Find

Mr. Flach bought the waterfront property he is developing from the Twelve Tribes — a fundamentalist Christian sect that runs a chain of cafes called the Yellow Deli, including one in downtown Coxsackie — for $1 million, along with an 1860s opera house where he plans to create first-floor retail space and 10 apartments. “This is a huge project for such a small community,” said Mr. Flach, who’s aiming to open the hotel on June 1. “I want to develop a level of vibrancy for the downtown that will bring tourists to the area and support local businesses.”

He also owns more than 100 apartments in town, including two historic brick buildings from the 1880s, and said they are all occupied, with waiting lists.

Historic homes predominate in the village. Outside the village, Coxsackie’s architecture is a mix of styles, with a number of Greek Revival farmhouses reflecting the area’s agrarian past.

The Reed Street Historic District consists of two- and three-story Italianate brick buildings from the mid-1800s, many painted in soft pastels. Small shops that recently have sprung up include Mansion + Reed General Store, which offers specialty groceries, espresso and pastries; Shipwrecked News, Books & Café, which sells sandwiches, homemade bagels, used books, and just received a liquor license; and, a few doors down, the Reed Street Bottle Shop, which carries local wines and spirits, as well as T-shirts and coffee mugs emblazoned with the phonetic spelling of the town’s often mispronounced name: “cook-SAH-kie.”

Susan Baldaserini, an owner of the wine shop and a graphic artist, designed the shirts and mugs. “Now a weekend doesn’t go by where I don’t hear someone in the shop saying, ‘Oh, that’s how you say it,’” she said.

In 2015, when Ms. Baldaserini, 43, and her boyfriend and business partner, Shai Kessler, 45, were living in Red Hook, Brooklyn, they bought a weekend house in the neighboring town of New Baltimore. They moved upstate full-time in 2016 to open the wine shop. The following year, Ms. Baldaserini opened Pilothouse Paper, a stationery store that doubles as her graphic-design studio, across the street.

“A lot of people travel up and down 9W without ever knowing Reed Street exists, but if you get the hot tip to turn off 9W and onto Reed Street, it’s truly charming and idyllic,” she said.

69 WASHINGTON AVENUE | A three-bedroom, two-bathroom house, built in 1910 on 2.24 acres, listed for $350,000. 518-719-5800Credit…Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

What You’ll Pay

As Coxsackie’s profile has risen, so have its home prices. The median sale price for a single-family home in 2022 was $291,000 — a jump of nearly 22 percent (from $239,000) in 2021, and nearly 53 percent (from $190,500) in 2019. It was more than the $285,000 median sale price in Catskill, and less than the $329,500 median in Athens, according to the Columbia Greene Board of Realtors.

Taxes are relatively low. The average county, town and school tax bill for 2021 was about $4,443 for town residents and $6,188 for village residents, said Raymond Ward, the director of real property tax services for Greene County.

In mid-January, Zillow showed six single-family homes for sale in Coxsackie, from a three-bedroom ranch on 0.23 acres, listed for $189,100, to a six-bedroom home on 9.33 acres along the Hudson River, listed for $899,000.

183 KINGS ROAD | A three-bedroom, one-bathroom house, built in 1952 on 0.23 acres, listed for $188,990. 518-209-8221Credit…Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

The Vibe

“What I’ve been seeing is the people who are interested in being full-time also want to either open up a business here or do a satellite of what they’re already doing in the city,” said Dave Merchant, a Coxsackie native and a real estate agent at Keller Williams Hudson Valley North.

Amy Bennett, who owns two businesses in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, is shopping for commercial space in Coxsackie to open a farm stand. She splits her time between her Fort Greene brownstone and her Coxsackie house, but plans to spend most of her time upstate once her younger daughter graduates from high school. In addition to Greene Grape Wine & Spirits and Greene Grape Provisions, she owns five properties in Athens, including 58 acres of farmland.

“Coxsackie feels like it’s got big energy from the waterfront development,” said Ms. Bennett, 53, who bought her three-bedroom Victorian house with river views for $375,000 in May 2021. “There’s definitely a bigger rejuvenation going on all at once.”

She likes to grab coffee at Shipwrecked, pick up cream puffs at the Little Bake Shop on Mansion Street and explore the Coxsackie Antique Center in the West Coxsackie business district on Route 9W, where more than 100 antiques dealers sell their wares. “It’s exactly what you want for a rainy Saturday, to wander through and see things you’ve never seen before,” she said.

Coxsackie is home to one of New York State’s few remaining drive-in movie theaters, which will open for its 2023 season in the spring.Credit…Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

The Schools

Students in the Coxsackie-Athens Central School District attend either Coxsackie Elementary School or Edward J. Arthur Elementary School for kindergarten through fourth grade. They go on to Coxsackie-Athens Middle School for fifth through eighth grade, and then to Coxsackie-Athens High School.

During the 2020-21 school year, the latest year for which figures were available from the New York State Education Department, the district had an enrollment of 1,188 students in kindergarten through 12th grade. About 85 percent identified as white, 8 percent as Hispanic, 5 percent as multiracial, 2 percent as Black and 1 percent as Asian or Pacific Islander.

On 2021-22 state tests, 86 percent of Coxsackie-Athens High School students were proficient in English, 34 percent were proficient in algebra and 54 percent were proficient in geometry, compared with 81 percent, 66 percent and 53 percent statewide. In 2022, the average SAT verbal score was 546, compared with a statewide average of 534; the average math score was 542, versus 533 statewide.

The high school’s graduation rate in 2021 was 89 percent, compared with 86 percent for the state.

Heermance Memorial Library, on Ely Street, is in a former private residence: Eleanor Christina Heermance, a lifelong Coxsackie resident, bequeathed the building to the town on her death in 1907, along with a trust fund to establish the library.Credit…Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

The Commute

Coxsackie is roughly a seven-minute drive from Exit 21B on the New York State Thruway. The drive to the George Washington Bridge takes about two hours, depending on traffic.

The Amtrak train station in Hudson is about a 25-minute drive. Round-trip tickets to New York City cost $62 to $148, depending on when the ticket is bought and whether it is for peak or off-peak hours.

“The train back on Thursday or Friday is often booked, because the area has gotten so popular,” Ms. Miller said.

The History

The New York State Legislature created the town of Coxsackie in 1788, and the village was incorporated in 1867. The name is derived from an Algonquin word and has had many spellings and various translations over the years, including “hoot of the owl,” said Michael H. Rausch, the town historian. Coxsackie is also associated with Coxsackievirus, which was first isolated in the town in 1948.

Pieter Bronck was the first European to settle in Coxsackie. His house, built in 1663 and believed to be one of the oldest in upstate New York, is now a museum. Around 1810, Eliakim Reed bought riverfront property and built a wharf, known as Reed’s Landing. It became a commercial hub, shipping local goods to New York City, Mr. Rausch said. The business district, including Reed Street, began to develop around 1810.

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