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Amela Kadric

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Wall Street Journal

Spuyten Duyvil Adds Condos To Backyards


Spuyten Duyvil has long been a destination for Manhattanites seeking leafy, suburban lifestyles who still want to stay in the city. People came looking to replace their urban digs for Tudor- and Colonial-style homes with driveways and backyards. The neighborhood is also near some of the best private schools in the city.

Those qualities still draw many of new arrivals to the neighborhood. But recently built, full-service condo buildings have been looking to attract residents seeking quieter and greener surroundings without wanting to give up high-rise amenities.

"We are picking up a little of Manhattan up here," said Sanjya Tidke of Sotheby's International Realty.

Spuyten Duyvil is located in the southern section of the Bronx's Riverdale neighborhood, right across Spuyten Duyvil Creek from the northern-most tip of Manhattan. The Riverdale section of the Bronx was designed as a summer community during the mid-1800s and was among the first commuter-railroad suburbs of New York City.

The meaning of the Dutch name Spuyten Duyvil—pronounced SPY-ten DIE-vul—has a different interpretations, including "spouting meadow" or, more ominously, "spitting devil." Another common English meaning given the name is "spite the devil."

The neighborhood has changed in recent years as new housing became available. In addition to the Manhattan dwellers looking for deals on homes, the area has drawn residents from Brooklyn and New Jersey as well, said Amela Kadric of Halstead Property.

"Since the new condos have come to the market, it has brought a lot of families to the neighborhood," Ms. Kadric said.

Of the 179 properties in Spuyten Duyvil currently listed for sale on real-estate site, the median asking price is $300,000, or $314 a square foot. In Fieldston to the north, it is $464 a square foot, and in Riverdale as a whole, it is $324, according to StreetEasy.

One of the newest condo buildings that have been constructed in recent years is the Riverstone on Arlington Avenue. The 13-story building with 26 units was finished in 2008 and is now about 60% sold. The building has a year-round sunlit pool with a retractable canopy, a gym, a sauna and conference room. The condo building also has roof deck, children's play areas and a movie theater. There is a four-bedroom duplex on the market there for $1.699 million.

On Johnson Avenue, there is a 12-story condo building with 69 units called RiverPointe. It was built as a rental building in the 1980s and was converted to a condominiums a few years ago. About 80% of the units in the tower have been sold. The full-service building has a gym, parking and a doorman. Many of the units have views of the Hudson River. Asking prices there range from $309,000 to $850,000, according to

A variety of high-end townhomes have risen in Spuyten Duyvil in recent years too. On Fairfield Avenue, there is a four-story home on the market for $1.395 million. It measures at about 4,000 square feet, has a loft-like living space and five bedrooms. It has a roof deck, garden, garage and an elevator.

A number of brick co-op buildings built in the area in the 1920s and 1930s would fit right in on the Upper West Side. These are some of the most affordable homes in the neighborhood. On 238th Street, there is Fieldston Gardens, a brick co-op building built during the 1920s that has about 90 units. There is a three-bedroom, two-bathroom unit on the market in the building for $699,000.

Schools: Spuyten Duyvil's public schools are in District 10 and include In-Tech Academy and Riverdale/Kingsbridge Academy, which run from middle school to high school. There is also the primary school Spuyten Duyvil.

In 2010, 45.1% of District 10 students in grades three through eight received a proficient score on the math exam, and 32.8% of students received a proficient score on the English Language Arts exam. In 2006, the results were 46.9% for math and 44.2% for reading.

Private schools in the neighborhood include St. Gabriel's School, running from nursery school through middle school. Nearby is Riverdale Country School and Horace Mann School, both running from nursery school through high school.

Parks: Near the Hudson River is Riverdale Park, a 112-acre strip of land filled with red oaks, black cherry and hickory trees. The forest covering the park has the same types of trees found in the area during the pre-colonial days. The park has walking trails.

Henry Hudson Park, measuring nine acres, is also in the area. The park, built in the 1930s, has baseball fields, handball courts, basketball courts and dog runs.

Shopping: Spuyten Duyvil has a number of basic retail options like banks, grocery stores and pharmacies. But the neighborhood is short on shopping options beyond the basics. In northern Riverdale, there is a farmer's market on Mosholu Avenue.

Dining: Liebman's Deli serves up kosher fare, including classics like pastrami and brisket sandwiches and matzah ball soup. J. Jade Dim Sum Café and Mother's Bake Shop are other favorites in the area.

Saturday, May 28, 2011