Transportation: The Arteries of a City
The Steamboat and the Hudson River Railroad: Elegance versus Convenience
Before the Railroad there was the steamboat (1820s John Bashford sloop landings and consequently Lemuel Wells pier for steamboats), a transportation method that like the railroad, traveled along the Hudson River line; however, while the steamboat empowered the local farmer, the farm economy, and thus Yonkers’ “rustic simplicity”, the railroad arguably did not. Between 1807 and the late 1800s the steamboat transportation lines along the Hudson River were primarily intended for trips between New York the city and Albany the capital, sort of an express route that ignored all other stops for a quicker arrival to the final destination – the big cities. The commercial steamboat was first developed and used in the Hudson River by Robert Fulton in 1807, were it flourished into the preferred long distance traveling transportation system within the state of New York. Without much groundwork construction required except for the piers, the steamboat system was considered to not be as intrusive to the landscape as a railroad along the Hudson River, but it was also seen as a more elegant way of transportation, which suggests not simply “good customer service” but a transportation mode strictly favored by the affluent and less accessible to the poor.
By having access to steamboat transportation, Yonkers farmers (mostly concentrated on East Yonkers) would venture pass the Nepperhan River and sell their produce on sloop days (Mondays and Wednesdays) on the sloop landing owned by John Bashford. A hotel, general store, post office and a row of buildings was situated there. This meant good business for the local farmers and for the community as a whole, as farmers also consumed from the local businesses (most notably the tavern Indian Queen) in their business visits. But regardless of the benefits of the steamboat transportation system along the Hudson, it had a major practical disadvantage over a railroad system. During the winter months, averaging 90-100 days of the year the river was closed by ice, and closing the channel through which one and a half to two million passengers were transported in the summer months proved to be a major inconvenience. This absence of potential consumers during the winter months also affected Yonkers’ local economy in terms of nature tourism and perhaps to a lesser extent the farm economy (not harvest season). Already economically dependent on New York City, the movement from the steam boat to the Hudson River Railroad will strengthen this dependency against the wishes of many residents who saw the ideal home as being away from the city.
 Humphrey , Phelps. "The Traveler’s Steamboat and Railroad Guide to the Hudson River: Describing the Cities, Towns, and Places of Interest along the Route." 1857.
 Humphrey , Phelps.
 Yonkers Historical Society, "History of Yonkers." Accessed April 26, 2012. http://www.yonkershistory.org/hiscode.html.
 Humphrey , Phelps.