Tuesday Tour of the Hudson Line: Greystone

Photograph of Harriman station from the 1903 book Yonkers Illustrated. The station was renamed Greystone circa 1910.

Greystone station in 1915. [image source]

If you’ve been following me around on my tour of all of Metro-North’s stations, you most likely remember me visiting Harriman station, which is on the Port Jervis Line. However, there is another station, on the Hudson Line, that was also called Harriman in the past. The station now goes by the name of Greystone, and it is today’s stop on our tour of the Hudson Line.

Greystone station is located in Yonkers, and approximately 17 miles north of Grand Central. I don’t normally make it a point to name the street that stations are on, but in this instance it feels appropriate – Harriman Avenue. Originally the station was named Harriman, after Charles Harriman, who was the main developer of that part of Yonkers. The man was born around 1826 in England but emigrated to New York with his parents and six siblings at age four. At the young age of eleven he began working, and developed a keen business sense. Throughout his illustrious career as a businessman he sold parts for ships, ran a sugar refinery, and founded a real estate firm with John Hawley – known as Harriman & Hawley.

Prior to the area’s development by Harriman, the land on which the station was built was owned by a pickle factory. Harriman purchased the land, approximately 18 acres, and developed it into a desireable place to live, with many attractive homes. The original stone station was built at a cost of $8000 (though another source lists the cost at $6500), completely paid for by Harriman. He later donated the station to the New York Central, and believe it or not, requested they rename the station Greystone.

Both photographs above are by user BrooklynParrots on Flickr and were taken in 2000.

Today Greystone station isn’t the most noteworthy of places, but like many Hudson Line stations it provides a nice view of the river. Some benches were installed along the water, and a spot was designated for fishing, but eating whatever you happen to catch is probably not the best of ideas. Both Amtrak and Metro-North trains frequently pass by Greystone, and about 30 trains in each direction make stops there over the course of a day. Travel time to Grand Central is between 30 to 40 minutes. Located behind the station are some apartments, which would be the perfect residence for any commuter.

Next week we will, of course, be visiting another Hudson Line station, perhaps a little bit more interesting than Greystone. Not to say that Greystone is a bad place – it certainly is not – it just might be a tad regular.


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Tuesday Tour of the Port Jervis Line: Harriman

The two above photos were on a single postcard, showing the old and new stations at Harriman. The station at left was known as Turners, and was replaced with the station on the right in 1911. From the collection of Steve Swirsky.

As we continue north on our tour of the Port Jervis Line, the next station we encounter is Harriman. When the railroad first arrived here in the 1800’s, the station was known as Turners, after original landowner Peter Turner. The first station built by Turner burned down in 1873, and was replaced with a smaller wood structure (above left). By 1911, that station was falling into disrepair and was again replaced with a brick and stucco structure with a tin roof (above right). The land for this new station was donated by Edward Harriman, and after he passed away in 1909, the name of the station was changed to Harriman in his honor.

Postcard of Harriman station, built in 1911. From the collection of Steve Swirsky.

Erie railroad photograph of Harriman station, taken shortly after construction was completed.

The location of today’s Harriman station, however, is in a totally different place than those shown above. Harriman was originally on the Erie railroad’s main line, which was abandoned in the 1980’s when Metro-North took over passenger service. A simple station, which retained the name Harriman, was built by Metro-North on the railroad’s new route, which was formerly known as the Graham Line. The new station is basic, consisting of a platform, canopy, small shelter, and two ticket vending machines.

Edward Harriman’s “special train.” Photo from the GG Bain Collection at the Library of Congress.

Besides being known for his badass moustache, and the namesake of this station, Edward Harriman was a wealthy railroad executive that owned a large estate which he named Arden (some of that land was donated upon his death, and is now Harriman State Park). Although he was associated with the Union Pacific and Southern Pacific railroads, he did influence the Erie Railroad as well – and two stations were named for him. In addition to Harriman, the station of Arden was named after his large estate. Reflecting his status as a wealthy executive, Harriman, of course, had his own private train – which is in the photo above.

The years were not particularly kind to the old Harriman station. The dilapidated structure was torn down in 2006.

Although the tracks running past the old Harriman station were torn out, the station building did survive for at least a few more years. Unfortunately, the run-down building was deemed unsafe, and in lieu of renovating it, the station was torn down in 2006.

Though these stations built by Metro-North aren’t very spectacular, the canopy on a few of them depicts a small sketch of the railroad in bygone years. Harriman’s sketch features a steam train, passing in front of what appears to be the old Harriman station. This is probably the only remotely interesting thing going on at Harriman, other than the weekend bus that will take you over to Woodbury Common. Well, at least you can get to the city in about an hour and fifteen minutes.

I’ll just wrap things up with a few of the terrible photos I took during my visit to Harriman. Have I mentioned that I really want to reshoot the entire Port Jervis line on a day that actually has nice weather? Perhaps someday…


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