New York : Safety by City
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You’d need to have lived under a rock for the past 200 years or so not to know the story behind Sleepy Hollow, New York.
“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” was written about the Dutch-settled Tarrytown.
In the 1990s, North Tarrytown was renamed Sleepy Hollow after Washington Irving’s book.
“From the listless repose of the place, and the peculiar character of its inhabitants, who are descendants from the original Dutch settlers, this sequestered glen has long been known by name of Sleepy Hollow… A drowsy, dreamy influence seems to hang over the land, and to pervade the very atmosphere.”
Washington Irving’s description, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”
Sleepy Hollow is a village in Mount Pleasant, New York, in Westchester County.
The region is known as the Hudson Valley.
Alongside the eastern bank of the Hudson River, the village of Sleepy Hollow offers visitors a bewitching glimpse into America’s early Dutch history shrouded in myth and legend.
This tranquil riverside village seems frozen in time with its 17th and 18th-century stone houses and the haunting atmosphere of the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, where Irving himself is buried.
The area’s beguiling past mixes with its natural beauty, evident in the historic mills and manor houses that elicit imaginings of early American life and the mysterious disappearance of Ichabod Crane chased by the headless horseman.
The dense forests and uneven terrain conceal the secrets of Native American tribes that once inhabited the land, while the iconic Old Dutch Church charms with traditional architecture and antique bells.
The famed Rockefeller family also has an estate nearby, bringing an American family legacy to the ordinary person with scheduled tours throughout the year.
A park bearing the Rockefeller name is open for relaxing outdoor activity too.
From the supernatural allure to the simple riches of nature along the Hudson, Sleepy Hollow captivates with its picturesque setting and an enduring air of mystery and romance.
Warnings & Dangers in Sleepy Hollow
OVERALL RISK : LOW
The risk is low here, and the things to do in a small town of 10,000 people are almost overwhelming. Most activities have guided tours, so you're always in a safe place.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
Getting to Sleepy Hollow is possible via the Metro North train or Amtrak, and once you're here, you can use taxis or rideshares. Most of the tourist attractions are walkable too. Rental cars are widely available if you want to drive yourself.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
There isn't raw data available about the number of pickpockets, but petty crime is the biggest concern here. Treat it with a medium risk just to be safe. Thefts from vehicles are so widespread that the police chief has a message on the city's website warning residents and visitors.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
This is another medium risk before the potential for severe or disruptive weather runs throughout the year. Huge snowstorms can cause treacherous winter roads, hurricanes and nor'easters can pack a punch, and severe thunderstorms can ruin outdoor plans. You also need to watch out for flash flooding.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
This is a low risk. Thieves are more likely to bank on you letting down your guard or leaving a car unlocked to seize a crime of opportunity. It's important to know this risk doesn't necessarily cover every other nearby city.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
This is a low risk for Sleepy Hollow, but anyone visiting the NYC metro area should stay aware of potential risks through the Homeland Security Department's Terrorism Advisory Bulletins released throughout the year.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
Most of the scams reported here in recent years target families, students, and senior citizens who live here. Tourists should know there's a low risk, but keep that risk low by not going outside of the tourism website's links to official sites to purchase tickets.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
Solo female travelers, mothers with children, and groups of women shouldn't have any concerns about visiting this town. There's so much history around safe places to explore; you can find something for everyone.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
The 2022 Annual Water Quality Report shows full compliance with no violations. If there are more pressing concerns, like hydrant flushing that could impact water's appearance, that would be posted on the city's social media sites.
Safest Places to Visit in Sleepy Hollow
“Visit Sleepy Hollow” is the official tourism site for the village.
There’s also a darker side to the legends and ghost stories here at the “Sleepy Hollow Country” website.
“Historic Hudson Valley” covers the entire region, with more villages in Mount Pleasant other than Sleepy Hollow.
Sleepy Hollow has many activities, with tours scheduled during the day and night to accommodate people’s comfort levels with the haunted topics.
Tour Sunnyside, the home of author Washington Irving, and see where he wrote famous works like The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
Visit the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, the burial place of Washington Irving, which also offers beautiful views of the Hudson River.
Attend a performance at Horseman’s Hollow, an interactive outdoor theatrical experience based on the legend of Sleepy Hollow performed seasonally in the fall.
Stop by the Rockefeller State Park Preserve and walk its 1,600 acres, including trails past historic stone walls and carriage roads.
Visit Kykuit, the National Trust historic site, and the Rockefeller family home, with its elaborate gardens and notable art collection.
Tours of Kykuit are by appointment only during certain seasons and don’t type Kykuit into your GPS, or else you’ll be taken to the wrong location.
Take a guided tour of Philipsburg Manor to step back in time to a 17th-century milling and trading complex and learn about the local history.
Outside Philipsburg Manor is a granite sculpture of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow, but be sure to get a photo of the headless horseman statue nearby, which weighs 11 tons and was specially treated to get that rich rusty color.
The Dutch Church, founded in 1685, is between the statue and the manor.
The church is another location mentioned in the book, but the churchyard isn’t the same as Sleepy Hollow Cemetery.
Hike or bike along the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail, which runs for over 40 miles from Sleepy Hollow to Manhattan along the path of the historic waterway.
Experience the arts at one of the many theaters in Sleepy Hollow, like the Tarrytown Music Hall, a historic venue for concerts and performances of all kinds.
Cirque de Soleil has a performance here called “The Legend,” which is one of the most exciting and creative tellings of the story.
Look for tickets early, as they sell out quickly.
Dine at one of Sleepy Hollow’s waterfront restaurants, like RiverMarket Bar & Kitchen, and enjoy views of the Hudson River.
Places to Avoid in Sleepy Hollow
Sleepy Hollow is a safe town to visit without dangerous parts of town or bad neighborhoods.
The only places you should avoid are gated communities or private property.
Since a lot of the fascination with Sleepy Hollow happens after dark, you should take proper safety steps by having a flashlight and taking extra care to be aware of your surroundings.
Opt for a cemetery tour, for example, instead of navigating a cemetery by yourself.
If you’re going boating on the Hudson River, review the lifejacket and boating laws from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation.
They offer an easy-to-download document with all the requirements.
Also, don’t go looking for the headless horseman’s bridge.
It doesn’t exist.
There are some replicas and “similar” bridges, but no authentic version still exists.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Sleepy Hollow
- Sleepy Hollow does have its own village police department. You can follow them on Facebook @sleepyhollowpolice. Always be sure you’re looking for information about Sleepy Hollow with the 914 area code since there are other towns named Sleepy Hollow in America. The department’s main phone number is (914) 631-0800.
- Review the Emergency Management for Westchester County’s Severe Weather section to review the risks and safety steps for any kind of weather issue.
- If you are renting a car, don’t leave the documents with your name and personal information inside the vehicle. Put it in your wallet or store it away in your suitcase so it’s not easy to find if someone breaks into your car.
- The Westchester County Health Department monitors the water quality of the Hudson River, and you shouldn’t plan a boating trip or go swimming until you can confirm the water is safe. There are times the water is too contaminated even to touch the water.
- If you are using the Metro North train to get around, get a Metro card so you can buy rides in advance and not have to pull out your wallet or cash too often.
- Seven parking lots in Sleepy Hollow are for permit holders only, and only local residents can get permits. Be sure to review the parking map on the village website to see where you can/can’t park during your visit.
- If you notice anything suspicious, send an anonymous tip via text message to the Village of Sleepy Hollow Police Department. All you have to do is text the keyword VSHPD and your message to 847411. The police department wants to remind all visitors, “Please remember that no issue is too small to be brought to the attention of a police officer if it is of concern to you.”
- Anglers need a fishing license from the Department of Environmental Conservation. You can purchase that online to check it off your life before you get to Sleepy Hollow.
- Sleepy Hollow isn’t just about Halloween, but if you’re planning to visit during the fall, book as far in advance as you can to make sure there’s room for you. Check the tourism calendar of events to see what great activities are available only in spring, summer, or winter, too.
- Parents bringing their young children to Sleepy Hollow should carefully review the different tours and legends of the town. Some of the stories are macabre and could cause nightmares or fears.
- BONUS: If you see a headless horseman, go the other way. 🙂
So... How Safe Is Sleepy Hollow Really?
Sleepy Hollow ranks as one of the safest places in the state of New York and the United States.
Exact crime data hasn’t been released for several years, and the data posted on the FBI’s website doesn’t seem legitimate enough for me to even dive into that here.
One statistic that holds true in crime data and from local leaders is that violent crime has gone down 80% since 2011.
That leaves mostly petty crime and a handful of violent crimes among people who know each other.
“We really found that our police force is admired and beloved by the people in the town.
We feel our police force is a part of our community, and another is a really alert and engaged group of residents,” Town Mayor Josh Cohn said.
The police chief added, “I’ve kind of tracked some of the patterns, and it appears to be people out of the village, out of our jurisdiction, a lot of times, even from out of state.”
Rashes of car break-ins are the most common crimes, generally due to people leaving cars unlocked or valuables in plain sight.
Common sense and basic safety strategies go a long way when visiting Sleepy Hollow.
How Does Sleepy Hollow Compare?
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- Visas - Visas are issued for the purpose of the trip, like tourism, work, or education. Some international visitors could qualify for a visa waiver based on their country of origin. A valid passport is required too. The easier way to get started is by using the Visa Wizard module on the U.S. State Department website.
- Currency - The U.S. Dollar is the currency of the land. Your home bank or a local branch of a bank where you are a customer will offer the lowest fees. You can also look for Travelex or CXI at your preferred airport.
- Weather - "Pack for the season" is the best advice I can give you, with extra layers in the winter and bug spray and sunglasses or a hat in the summer. Fall and spring can have fluctuating temperatures, so bring a variety of options.
- Airports - LaGuardia Airport in Queens and Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey are the closest major commercial airports to Sleepy Hollow, located about 30-40 miles away. Sleepy Hollow does not have its own commercial airport.
- Travel Insurance - Comprehensive travel insurance offers the best protection against all delays, cancellations, acts of nature, and accidents. Be sure you have supplemental health coverage if you're not covered in the U.S.
Sleepy Hollow Weather Averages (Temperatures)
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