Identity Crisis : Understanding
Yonkers as Both City and Suburb
Yonkers : The Virtuous Suburb
Thirdly, Yonkers provided the ultimate contrast to New York City, since the charming town neither identified as completely agrarian, nor completely industrial, but rather, virtually suburban. Yonkers understood itself as a median between two extremes, a phenomenon Aristotle defined as “virtue.” Hence, the town was sufficiently agrarian to be reminiscent of nature and the country, and sufficiently industrial to be reminiscent of a metropolis...virtue indeed.
In fact, Allison poetically describes Yonkers as this virtuous median when he quotes,
Soon after such flourishing, the appeal of Yonkers escalated once more as the stock market collapsed and the “Western Blizzard of 1857” swept New York and Europe. Yonkers clearly suffered repercussions, but not to the same degree as New York City. As Madden writes,
Therefore, Yonkers once again provided an attractive alternative to New York City. This time, the town offered more than financial stability: it afforded physical safety and refuge from the corruption brewing in the south.
Thusly, retreating to Yonkers seemed a retreat to a picturesque fortress, shrouded and secured by the leaves of nature. In fact,
Furthermore, many publications emphasized Yonkers’ suburban identity as reminiscent of both the city and the country.
Essentially, writers described Yonkers as a perfect getaway. “The people of Yonkers had many of the advantages of city life, but they also had all the advantages of a more quaint way of life.”
They perceived the town as a suburb, the median between agrarian wilderness and sullied industrialization. It maintained the benefits of the city and the beauty of the country, but unfortunately, “Yonkers began to move through the last full decade of not being a city in its own right.”
 Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics. (New York: Clarendon Press, 2006), 23
 Charles Elmer Allison, The History of Yonkers, Westchester County, New York. (New York: Harbor Hill Books, 1984), 169
 Joseph P. Madden, A Documentary History Of Yonkers, New York. Volume 2, Part 1: The Unsettled Years, 1820-1852. (Maryland: Heritage Books, Inc, 1994), 9.
 Madden, Documentary History, 20.
 Madden, Documentary History, 40.