Mount Vernon is the third largest and the most densely populated city in the county of Westchester. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.4 square miles, of which, 4.4 square miles of it is land and 1.7 square miles of it is water. Mount Vernon is the eighth most populous city in the state of New York. It is a predominantly African-American city in a majority Caucasian county. Northside Mount Vernon has a suburban presence with tree lined streets and close knit homes side by side while Southside Mount Vernon has a very urban feel, nearly mirroring its border with the New York City Borough, The Bronx. The city's downtown business district is also located on the city's southside, which features the City Hall, Office buildings, and other municipal establishments. Mount Vernon was named after the Virginia plantation where George Washington spent his final years, just as neighboring Wakefield was named after the plantation where he was born.
Mount Vernon has in recent years undergone a transition from a city of homes and mediocre businesses to a city of regional commerce. Between 2000 and 2006, the city of Mount Vernon's economy grew 20.5%, making it one of the fastest growing cities in the metropolitan area of New York. Mount Vernon is often considered a poster child for cities within the county for having such a large magnitude of diversity for a city of its size.
Mount Vernon's North Side is one of the most ethnically diverse neighborhoods in Westchester County. The Northern part of the city consists of five neighborhoods: Fleetwood, Chester Heights, Huntswood, Estate Manor/Aubyn Estates, and Oakwood Heights. In Fleetwood, there are many large co-op buildings lining the center of town, which is bisected by Gramatan Avenue. The Huntswood and Estates sections are more affluent areas that are on the border between Mount Vernon and the Village of Bronxville with property values ranging from high $400,000 to millions of dollars for single houses.
Mount Vernon's South Side, heavily urban influenced resembling The Bronx and the rest of New York City. Included are the neighborhoods of Parkside and Southside. Numerous industrial businesses are located in Parkside, while the rest of Southside Mount Vernon features multi-family homes, apartment buildings, commercial businesses and housing projects.
South Side Mount Vernon features notable city landmarks such as Brush Park, Hutchinson Field, and the Boys and Girls Club (made famous by Denzel Washington who started attending the club when he was 6 and has often given the club credit for keeping him on the straight path), and St. Paul's Church National Historic Site. NBA basketball player Ben Gordon, who is from the South Side, has dedicated two playgrounds to the city: one on South Eighth Avenue, and the other at the Mount Vernon YMCA Family Center.
The Mt Vernon City School District is a very large district that has 11 elementary schools, two middle schools and three high schools. The district understands that every child is a unique individual. The New York State Education Department has determined that all children in the state of New York can do better. Based on this determination our benchmarks have been raised significantly. The goals of its educational programs are to encourage the social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development in each child. School educators view parents as partners as they work together to facilitate a developmentally appropriate environment. The Mt Vernon City School District welcomes parental input and cooperation since they believe that educating children is a shared responsibility. Mt Vernon City School District is passionate about offering every child the opportunity to discover and understand their world through the daily hands-on experiences they encounter in our classrooms. They are expressively proud of their Pre-K Program, which allows children time to play, to listen and talk, to share and cooperate, and to continue to develop their skills and interests. The teachers are dedicated to creating a lasting memory in every student and foster a lifelong desire to learn.