Identity Crisis : Understanding
Yonkers as Both City and Suburb
yonkers : The city
Ten years after the wards were established, however, Yonkers considered joining New York City. By an Act of the Legislature in 1870, the local Boards of Excise were appointed throughout the state and the town of Yonkers had its Board, while the incorporated Village of Yonkers had its own board. The Village Board consisted of the Trustees, and in 1871, annexation to New York was proposed and considered during a meeting of the citizens. While the measure was first defeated, in 1872 the town government was abolished, and the village government succeeded. Consequently such an act strongly suggests that the Board of Trustees intended to make Yonkers a city when it created the wards in 1860, because the Board spearheaded the succession.
Thus, in 1872, the proposed charter of the city of Yonkers was published, and Yonkers legally ceased to be a town and village. Furthermore, Yonkers’ newly assumed identity of “city” became predominant and overshadowed any suburban conceptions, “conceptions” being the operative word. Ultimately, the geographical landscape of Yonkers did not change, but the ways in which Yonkers was understood and defined altered significantly. Such a drastic reconceiving of Yonkers not only drew attention to the ways language can be manipulated, but also perpetuated the notion that the “city” and “suburb” are not inherently stable phenomena.
 Charles Elmer Allison, The History of Yonkers, Westchester County, New York. (New York: Harbor Hill Books, 1984), 198