Nyack is a village incorporated in 1933 primarily in the town of Orangetown, with a very small western section in Clarkstown, in Rockland County, New York, United States. It is an inner-suburb of New York City, situated north of South Nyack, east of Central Nyack, south of Upper Nyack, and west of the Hudson River, approximately north of the Manhattan boundary. Nyack had a population of 6,765 as of the 2010 census. Most of Rockland County's local music scene is based in Nyack.
Stone Native American relics and heaps of oyster shells found along the shore of the Hudson indicate that this was a favorite fishing spot of the natives. In 1675, the first Europeans settled in Rockland County at Nyack.
Harman Douwenszen came to America as a toddler and grew up in Bergen, New Jersey. He settled his father's rough land that is today Nyack. The Tappan Register of 1707 claimed it was pronounced Nay-ack. Harman was thought to be the first white settler. In the State Archives in Albany there is a 1687 letter on file petitioning Governor Dongan to buy a strip of land in the west hills of Tappan (today Nyack), in which he had lived on for 12 years. His partition was granted and he bought the land from the native Americans. He called his farm New Orania (Oranje in Dutch). This section of Nyack became known as Orangetown in 1683. Nyack became part of Rockland County in 1798. Harman's younger brother Theius changed the family name from Douwse (Frisian dialect for first son) to Talma proper Dutch for first son. His children became Talman and eventually Tallmans. The New Orania farm became the Tallman homestead, at the northeast corner of what is now Broadway and Tallman Place. The building was demolished in 1914.
Letter dated 8/31/1687 on file at New York State Archives at Albany:
The humble Peticon of Harman Dowse of Tappan Neare Ye River Side, Alias New Orania farm ... your peticonr is a farmer that hath nothing wot comes by his hard labour but by God's Blessing out ye Produce and ye ground, and hath a family to provide for.
On the north wall of the Midland Trust Building at South Broadway and Burd Street in Nyack is a plaque installed in 1938 that reads:
The Tappan Indians, from time immemorial, occupied these lands fronting the river shore. Here, in summer they lived upon fish and oysters. In Algonkian dialect spoken by them they called this location NAY-ACK which means the fishing place. The first settlement of white people within the limits of the present Rockland County, New York, took place in 1675 when Harmen Dowesen (Tallman), a young Dutchman of Bergen, New Jersey relocated here.
The Tallmans erected a mill upon a stream which still is known as Mill Brook. Abraham Lydecker, purchased land from the Tallmans when there were but seven homes in Nyack in 1813. Nyack became an incorporated village in 1872 according to the same plaque on the Midland Trust Building.
Three major industries once thrived in Nyack: sandstone quarrying for New York City buildings (ca. 1800–40); boat building—sloops, steamboats, then pleasure craft and World War I and II submarine chasers (ca. 1915–1948); and shoe manufacturing (ca. 1828–1900). Following the extension of the Northern Railroad of New Jersey into the community in the mid-19th century, rapid growth ensued. Because town government was no longer seen as an effective way to deal with the community's needs, village incorporation was discussed. Fearing higher taxes, those in what would have become the northern part of Nyack village formed their own municipal corporation first, named Upper Nyack. Nyack village was incorporated, although without this northern portion. Residents in the southern part of Nyack village, however, soon became dissatisfied with the notion of paying taxes that more heavily benefited the rest of the village. After succeeding in dissolving Nyack's corporation, the southern portion of the former village incorporated as the village of South Nyack. The area between Upper Nyack and South Nyack was reincorporated thereafter, again as Nyack.
Throughout the 18th century and 19th centuries, Nyack was known for its shipbuilding and was the commercial center of Rockland County. In the 19th century, a number of factories manufactured shoes. The Erie Railroad connected with Jersey City, New Jersey, where ferries took passengers to Chambers Street, New York City, until it was discontinued in 1966. With the completion of the Tappan Zee Bridge in December 1955, connecting South Nyack with Tarrytown in Westchester County, the population increased and Nyack's commercial sector expanded.
In 1991 the landmark court case Stambovsky v. Ackley ruled that a house at 1 LaVeta Place on the Hudson River was legally haunted and that the owner (but not the real estate agent) was required to disclose that to prospective buyers. The owner, Helen Ackley, earlier had organized haunted house tours and was party to an article about it in Readers Digest. After Ackley sold the house to another buyer there were no subsequent reports of hauntings.
On August 10, 2010, Highland Hose Company No. 5, a two-story brick firehouse located at 288 Main Street, celebrated 100 years at the firehouse. The firehouse was built in 1910 – fifteen years after Highland Hose was founded. The company's 1949 Ahrens-Fox fire engine was polished to bright, gleaming red and is still in use after more than 50 years.