Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

How visitors perceived Peekskill


Peekskill is a tight knit community, its architecture and walkable streets stand out and visitors are welcomed and treated respectfully, so say the three Marist documentary students who spent time here last fall filming their six-minute movie “Peekskill: A Friendly Town.”

They travelled from their college in Poughkeepsie numerous times and often had to change plans based on the weather when they couldn’t film outdoors. On the day they were to film at a street festival hosted by Peekskill Brewery, that was cancelled due to rain, they instead went to the pavilion at Riverfront Green where the Peekskill High School Class of 1973 was having their reunion picnic.  The documentarians captured the reactions of former Peekskill residents who hadn’t been here in years.

In their own words, here are the students’ impressions of Peekskill.

Anaiya Bobo: “Of the many positive outcomes that came from the process of creating this documentary was being introduced to the City of Peekskill. From my very first trip, I could tell that the city was a family-oriented community. At first impression, Peekskill displays as a quaint, peaceful-looking city with rows and rows of beautiful shops and architecture – notably the many intricate churches. There were many art murals and event postings around the town that shared stories about its values and brightened the city with tons of color. The tight-knit aspect soon became evident when every interview subject we spoke with was familiar with our other subjects. Beyond that, many were able to recommend additional contacts to us to offer varying perspectives for our documentary. I remember comparing it to the fictional town of “Stars Hollow” from one of my favorites shows, ‘Gilmore Girls’, for the interconnectedness of everything. If seeking a quiet escape from the busyness of the city, Peekskill definitely checks the box. 

Anaiya Bobo

The process of filming this documentary was an eye-opening one in many ways. Our documentary topic was certainly a weighted and multifaceted one, that each of our subjects were able to offer valuable insight on. What I found to be my biggest takeaway from our interviews however, was the unanimous love for Peekskill that its residents have. Despite the issues they may have with the city or things they would like to see change, everyone – current and former residents – that we spoke with had a clear undying love for their city and its people. It revealed that regardless of stance on Peekskill gentrification and its contributing factors, everyone had the same underlying goal of helping make Peekskill the best place for everyone. For that reason, I feel very lucky to have been introduced to it through this documentary. “

Christina Georgiou: “I’m from out of state, so before making this documentary, Peekskill was nothing to me but a train stop that I would pass on my way to New York City. Having traveled back and forth from Poughkeepsie to Peekskill, spending long hours meeting and interviewing its residents, learning stories from both new residents and old, as well as talking to a historian to learn the roots of how the city came to be, I can now say I have a new love and admiration for Peekskill.

Christina Georgiou

When driving through Peekskill for the first time, my impression was that it would make a picture-perfect location for a 90s coming-of-age movie. From the historical architecture to the walkable streets, the local businesses, and the bustling markets, Peekskill has a charm that is very welcoming. The people we interviewed were so approachable, encouraging, and happy to help. It almost took me aback to see so many smiling faces!

We understand that the subject at hand is complicated. In our documentary, our aim was to present an unbiased perspective, devoid of absolutes or clear-cut answers. Close-knit communities like Peekskill seem to be a rare commodity in this day and age. While preserving the unique charm is important,  it is equally important to not stunt the growth of the community.”  

Laratee VanNieuwenhuyze: “Peekskill was a city that I probably would have never ventured into myself had I not had a reason to do so, and I could not have been any more amazed and taken in by its character. Rarely does one see small cities like this still around in America, having been put into the wayside by larger, more metropolitan areas like New York City; being able to see firsthand and film it was refreshing. In terms of first impressions, I knew right away that Christina, Anaiya, and I had lucked out to be filming in such a cute and picturesque city. Everyone we met and stumbled across was so welcoming and nice, which I don’t think I’ve seen to such an extent in the past few years that I’ve been studying here in the Hudson Valley. I loved seeing all the different little shops and murals, as well as getting to know the different people in the community through the filming process.

Laratee VanNieuwenhuyze

The filming process did show me, though, that even small, seemingly perfect cities/communities also have their issues – multifaceted as they are – which I think we captured well in the documentary. But positive change is a long and laborious process, subjective as it can be as every individual has their opinion on what ‘positive change’ can be.” 

Enjoy their documentary:  Peekskill  A Friendly City

About the Contributor
Regina Clarkin
Regina Clarkin, Editor and Publisher
When the Peekskill Herald weekly newspaper ceased publishing in August 2000 it was the first time in the history of the city that there wasn’t a local newspaper.  The award-winning weekly was often referred to as the ‘glue’ of the community. Founded on January 9, 1986 by Regina Clarkin, Kathy Daley and Rich Zahradnik with a $7,000 credit card line, the paper filled the void created when the daily Evening Star was sold to Gannett and moved out of town. Founding publisher Regina Clarkin continued to live in the Peekskill Cortlandt area and turned her attention to other life endeavors.  Through the ensuing 19 years, Clarkin was frequently stopped in town and asked when she would start up the Herald again. In January 2019, Clarkin decided it was less labor intensive to deliver a weekly blog than a print newspaper so she began posting one story a week about life in Peekskill. After a successful crowd funding campaign in 2020, the Herald was incorporated as a non-profit corporation in July of 2021. Peekskill Herald is a digital relative of the former print edition, featuring many of the favorite aspects of the beloved Peekskill Herald such as old pictures, personality profiles and well written stories about newsworthy events. Regina Clarkin is the editor and publisher of the site. Photo by Joe Squillante